Even a small water leak in your home can cost you money month to month over a long period of time, and that’s just on your water bill alone. Bigger leaks can create structural damage that will require extreme renovation. But by following a few quick steps, you can easily determine whether or not you’ve got a leak. By finding it early, you’ll probably only have to call a plumber rather than a construction crew. We have the first steps lined out for how you can detect water leaks in your home.
Do a Visible Inspection
Throughout the year—and especially in the winter—make sure that you look up every once in a while. Notice any brown spots or staining on your ceilings? This could be a water leak. Check the ceilings below your bathrooms, or any other place where you know water travels. While you want to catch a leak before there’s visible damage, these inspections are a way to prevent molding or decay.
Request Previous Water Bills
If you’re new to the house or the apartment, request the average paid in water bills—or even request copies of water bills from years past—and compare these. Of course, your water-use habits will vary from the tenants before you, but this will give you a ballpark estimate of how much water usage is normal.
Locate Your Water-Meter Box
Your meter box is your best tool to find out if you have a leak, and you’ll more than likely find it outside, at the front of the house, in line with your outside faucet. The meter tells you how much water is getting spent in the house, and you’ll need to use this to find out if, when all the water is turned off, you’re actually still using water. If so, you’ve got a leak.
Using Your Water-Meter to Detect Leaks
Once you’ve found it, here are the processes for how you’ll try to find out if you have a leak and where it is:
- If you or your family use water in the house, then you’re not going to be able to decipher if the water reading on your meter is from you or from a leak. So look at the meter and then leave the house for an hour or so. If no water is running and the meter has a reading, then you more than likely have a leak.
- To identify where the leak is, start with your toilets. Shut each one off, one at a time, and see if the meter changes. If it does, then you know that the last toilet you shut off is the likely culprit.
- If you couldn’t identify the leak from a toilet, start next with your sprinkler systems. These lines can have leaks and, by shutting off the water to them, you should be able to determine if there’s a leak in the line.
Check Your Foundation
Check for damp or wet places around the foundation of your home, as this is another way to find out where the leak is. If you’ve been unable to find the leak in your toilets or sprinkler system, then you might have a breach somewhere in between, and the foundation is a good place to check.
Check Your Water Filtration Systems
Could be that your solution is as easy as replacing the water filter. Check your water and refrigerator filters to see if it is time to replace these if you haven’t done so in a while. Could be that a build-up is causing the filter to malfunction or leak.
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