Testing for Leaks

Leaky FaucetDrips and leaks allow water and your money to go down the drain. Just a slow drip can use up to 15 to 20 gallons a day, while a toilet that “keeps running” can waste thousands of gallons of water a year. Leaks are estimated to waste more than 10 percent of indoor water supply, driving up water and sewer costs. Conserve water and save money by finding and fixing leaks.

Although most leaks can be heard or seen, many homes have hidden leaks that are easily overlooked. Verify your home is leak-free by following these easy steps:

  • Turn off of all water-using appliances and fixtures inside and outside your home. Use no water during the test period.
  • Locate the water meter at the front of your property (usually in a concrete box).
  • Check and record the current meter reading.
  • Wait 30 minutes without using any water inside or outside your home.
  • Check the meter again and compare readings. If the numbers have changed, there may be a leak that needs your attention. Also, watch the leak detection dial for a minute. If the dial is moving, even at a slow rate, you may have a leak.

The most common culprits are leaking toilets or dripping faucets. A leaky toilet loses water from the tank into the bowl without being flushed. Many of these leaks are silent. To test for toilet leaks:

  • Lift the lid off the toilet tank and put five to 10 drops of food coloring into the tank.
  • Wait five minutes, then look in the bowl. If you see food coloring in the bowl, you have a leak. 

In most cases, replacing the toilet flapper and/or the filling mechanism will correct the problem. A leaky faucet is often the result of a bad rubber washer. The washer is typically located under the handle and can be easy to repair, if you have the right tools. Check the Internet for instructions on how to repair leaks. Many local home centers also offer good advice. If in doubt about any repair, seek a plumbing professional.

For help in determining if you have a leak, call Bellevue Utilities at 425-452-6973.


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