Leaks in household and underground water pipes on your property can be costly and wasteful. Check for possible leaks on your property at least once a month, or whenever you suspect a leak exists.

How to Detect Leaks on Your Property

  1. Turn off all your water faucets, pipes, and other water-using fixtures to make sure no water is running.
  2. Locate your water meter, which should be in or near the sidewalk area fronting your building or home.
  3. Open the meter cover and check to see if the dial is moving. If it is, you have a leak! Replace the cover and rotate it to secure it.

Tips on How to Check for Leaks

Leak Detection Hints

Your Pipes

Periodically, check your plumbing fixtures and exposed pipes. Listen for the sound of running water - many leaks can be detected by sound as well as by sight. Even if you cannot hear or see a leak, close all water outlets (faucets and taps) and check your meter just to be on the safe side.

Your Toilets

Pay close attention to your toilet plumbing, where leaks are often hardest to detect. A quick check can be made by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank after it has filled and quieted, and watching for its appearance in the bowl. If there is a leak, then color should appear within 15-30 minutes. Even if no leak is detected, the test should be repeated, as such leaks are often intermittent. The Board of Water Supply (BWS) also has dye tablets for detecting toilet leaks available by contacting the Communications Office at (808) 748-5041.

Your Faucets

Perhaps the most common cause of water waste is the leaky faucet. Because a dripping faucet deceptively appears to be letting out very small amounts of water, this problem is often neglected. Yet a leaking drip that is 1/32nd of an inch wastes 25 gallons in 24 hours; one that is 1/16" wastes 100 gallons in 24 hours; and a stream of 1/8" wastes 400 gallons in a 24-hour period.

Check faucets regularly for leaks at the faucet head and seepage at the base and its connections. When a leaking faucet is found, no matter how small the leak appears to be, it may be time to replace a worn washer, which is something homeowners themselves can fix. The replacement of a simple rubber ring like this can save untold dollars in wasted water.

Your Yard

Automatic sprinkler systems make lawn irrigation easy. However, these timesaving devices are also susceptible to leaks! Irrigation system leaks are not always noticeable, so it is important to check the sprinkler timer, connections and heads for signs of a leak. Wet or noticeably greener spots of grass near a water sprinkler could indicate a sprinkler in need of repair. A properly maintained irrigation system will help keep your yard healthy and save water.

When You Go Away

If you plan to leave your home empty for any length of time - on vacation, for instance - it might be a good idea to shut off your water valve so that if a serious leak develops while you're away, it will not flood the premises or run up a large water bill for you.

The shutoff or property valve is usually located inside your property, a few feet from the water meter. If a fixture or a pipe is damaged, your first move should be to shut off the supply using this valve. It's most important to keep the shutoff valve clear and within easy access, and in good working order at all times.

Also, check your lawn area for wet spots or areas where the grass seems greener than the rest of the lawn. This could indicate a leaking underground pipe.

Fix the Leak

Leaks will gradually grow larger if repairs are not made, so call a plumber as soon as possible to find and fix the broken pipe.