Do You Have a Leak?
There is always the possibility of a leak in the service lines or holding devices delivering water to your home. The following information was prepared to assist you in determining if a leak may exist and where it could be. The meter pit and all service lines from the house side of the meter to the home are owned by the homeowner and are the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain. We are able to assist you in determining if you do have a water loss but the repair would be yours to provide if it is in this area.
Open your meter pit using pliers to unlock the lid. The face of your water meter will be labeled either gallons or cubic feet. The dial has a row of numbers that turn when water is being measured through the meter. Please refer to the reading instructions for gallons or cubic feet that follow.
Reading Your Meter in Gallons
On the face of the meter is a red hand that reads similar to a clock from 1 to 10. These numbers measure by the gallon; the divisions between each number represent tenths of a gallon. Make a note of the numbers and location of the red dial at this time.
Wait an hour or more without using any water and read your water meter again. If the red hand has moved, something has used water. To determine the amount of water unaccounted for, subtract the first reading you noted from the second reading. The result is the amount of water measured between readings.
For billing purposes your meter is read in thousands of gallons.
Reading Your Meter in Cubic Feet
On the face of the meter is a sweep hand that reads similar to a clock from 1 to 10. These numbers measure by the cubic foot; the divisions between each number represent tenths of a cubic foot. Make a note of the numbers and location of the sweep dial at this time.
Wait an hour or more without using any water in your home and read your water meter again. If the sweep hand has moved, something has used water. To determine the amount of water unaccounted for, subtract the first reading you noted from the second reading. The result is the amount of water measured between readings.
For billing purposes your meter is read in hundreds of cubic feet.
Finding a Leak
The most common leak sources are the toilet, the home water softener, irrigation systems, water driven sump pump backups, and the humidifier on a furnace. You will probably need a trained repair person to repair a water softener, irrigation system, or humidifier but you can be your own detective to catch a leaking toilet. Normally you will NOT hear a toilet leaking until the leak is quite severe, but the cost can be substantial. A leak in a pipe the size of a dot could mean a loss of 360 gallons of water per day.
Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball inside the tank. To determine if your overflow pipe is leaking, flush the toilet with the tank lid off. The water level should refill up to about one half inch below the overflow pipe. If the water level in the tank rises above the overflow pipe, adjust the float level control screw so the valve shuts off the water below the top of the overflow pipe. If the valve itself is leaking, it will probably need to be replaced.
Another test to perform on the toilet would be to drop a little food coloring or dark beverage into the tank. Do not flush, but wait 30-60 minutes. If the colored water appears in the toilet bowl, you probably have a seeping leak around the flapper valve or plunger ball and need to replace these worn parts. If the colored water disappears from the tank without flushing, but does not appear in the toilet bowl, then you may have a crack or break in the overflow pipe allowing the water to seep into that pipe.