Does your water bill seem higher than usual? If so, a water leak could be the culprit. If you are pretty sure there are no leaks in your home, then the problem could be outside of the home. The following are a few things to check to help you determine whether a leak is the problem.
Tip #1: Perform a meter test
A meter test is the key to figuring out if there is a leak, and whether it is inside or outside of the house. Begin by shutting all taps inside and outside of the home. This means turning off appliances that use water, such as the fridge ice maker, so they do not draw on the meter. Then, record the meter reading. Wait one hour, then check the reading again. If the reading has changed, then you do have a leak.
To determine the rough location, find the water main that comes into the home. This may be located in the basement or in a utility box near the home. Turn off the water supply and check the meter one hour later. If meter movement has stopped, then the leak is inside of the house. If the meter moved, then the leak is somewhere in your outdoor water supply lines.
Tip #2: Look for wet spots
Once you have determined the leak is outside, you can try to pinpoint the exact location. If you know the rough location of the water main into your home, this is a good place to start. You can sometimes guess the location by tracing an imaginary line from the main water supply valve in the home to the utility cover in the street. You may also be able to find the information online if your city or county keeps property records online.
Once you have an idea of the location, walk around the area slowly and see if you find any wet or soggy areas. These are likely near the leak. If you don't find any soggy spots near the main, the leak may be in a supply line to your outdoor faucets or sprinklers. If you have water pressure problems with any of these, they may be on the leaky line. Otherwise, you can walk the yard looking for wet and muddy areas, or areas overgrown in moss, fungus, or other moisture loving organisms.
For more help in locating or fixing the leak, contact a residential plumber in your area.