How to Find a Water Leak: 10 Different Methods

Water leaks are a problem best solved sooner rather than later. Not only can having water running all the time be a pricy problem, but it can also cause damage to your home and any water leaked is water wasted.

There are a few tricks to try when you suspect a leak on your property that can help you discover whether you actually do have a leak, and where it may be located. Although you will likely want to call in a plumbing professional to solve the problem, locating it first can save the plumber time, and save you money.

Here are ten different ways on how to find a water leak:

1. Water meter leak indicator

Water meters will most often have a leak indicator which might look like a small triangular dial or a silver wheel. Whichever it is, if water is flowing, that dial or wheel will be rotating. Double check that no water is currently being used on your property – that means both inside and outside – and then check that dial. If it’s moving, you’ve got a leak

2. Water meter reading

Another way to use your water meter to check for a leak is to make sure no water is being used on your property, and then do a water reading. In an hour or two, go back and take the reading again. If the number has changed, and you haven’t used any water, you will know that you have a leak.

3. Cut the water completely

In order for you to find a water leak, it is first important to determine if the leak is inside the house or outside. Turn off the main water valve to your home, and repeat either the water meter reading method or the water meter leak indicator method described above to determine if there is still a leak.

If the main water valve is off and the meter is still showing a leak, that means the leak is outside. If it is showing no leak once the water valve is off, your leak is inside.

4. Dye your toilet

Toilets are a major culprit of leaking water in a home. One way to test for a leak is to put dye or colouring in the tank of the toilet and see if it ultimately seeps into the bowl. If so, the stopper at the bottom of the tank is allowing water to seep through.

5. Shut of your toilet’s water supply

A highly effective method for finding if a toilet has a water leak is to cut the water off and wait a few hours. If the toilet is almost empty of water when you return, then there is definitely a leak.

6. Examine your water heater

If you suspect a leak in your home, a good place to check is your hot water tank. Hot water tanks are a common source of home leaks. A good thing to do is to look and listen. Look for signs of leakage – like small puddles under or around the hot water tank, and inspect the tank for obvious signs of leakage like active leaking or damaged connections. Listen for a hissing sound, this could be a sign that your tank is leaking.

7. Be patient with your hot water tank

Hot water tanks can release some condensation depending on the conditions within the home, the weather, and other factors. If you find water underneath your water tank but see no signs of a leak, clean up the water and then lay a paper towel underneath. If the paper towel remains dry over a longer period of time – say one to two days – then there probably is no leak, and it was just some condensation.

8. Use your eyes

Visual clues can be incredibly helpful in locating leaks in the home. Look at every valve and connection on your property to see if you can locate any visual confirmations as to where the leak may be coming from. Some things to look for are water, water damage, or damaged connections.

9. Listen to your house

Go around to each faucet or water-run connection in your house and just have a listen. Hissing sounds are often indicative of a water leak. This includes all sinks, taps, shower heads, baths, washing machines, and dishwashers. Your ear can be the most helpful hint as to where a leak is coming from.

10. Hose bibs

The hose bibs are those faucets on the side of your home where you attach your hoses, and are common sources of home leaks. Houses will often have at least two, but could have more. Listen to each hose bib, and if there is a hissing sound on more than one, try to determine if the sound is louder at one hose bib than the other. It will help you to determine exactly where the leak is located.