How to Find a Leak in Your House

Posted on: 7 December 2015

Of all the plumbing issues to have, leaking pipes can be among the most frustrating. From water damage, to flooded basements, to burst pipes, leaks can cause major damage, but they are often times difficult to locate if signs aren't obvious. Use some of the helpful hints below to see if your house could be suffering from a leaky pipe.

1. Check Your Water Pressure

If you have noticed that the water coming out of your shower or faucet has diminished in force recently, you probably have a leak somewhere along the system. If you go to your hot water tank, try checking the pressure relief valve by either listening for a hissing sound or taking away the actual drainpipe. Although this will only reveal a leak in that specific location, it's one of the easiest methods on this list.

2. Toilet

Your toilets have quite a few pumps and pipes that could easily leak. In order to check if there is a problem, remove the top of the tank and see if you can hear a hiss that could indicate seeping water. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to the tank and see if after a few minutes, the bowl water also becomes colored. If this occurs, you definitely have a leak.

3. Meter Test

Although a meter test may take time, it is relatively easy and can help determine the volume of water lost from the leak. The first step is finding your water meter. They are normally located in a covered box near the street or towards the front of your home and once you find it, record the numbers on the meter.

For the next half hour or so, don't use any water in the house. Then, go back to the meter and record those numbers again. If they have changed, you have a leak somewhere along your water system that is causing it to decrease in pressure.

4. Meter Line

If you have checked most of the in-house culprits (toilets, showers, faucets, etc…), but still can't find a leak, it is best to check the meter line itself that carries water to the house. If you can locate a shut-off valve to the main line, temporarily turn the water flow off and see if the meter head (normally located underground) continues to turn. If so, you have a water leak between the meter and the house.

Although determining the location or cause of a leak may sound frustrating, it will help the plumber out immensely and may save you costs on their bill in the future. If none of these tips have helped, contact a leak detection professional.