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Leak Detection

Leak Detection

In a typical house, leaky toilets and faucets can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day, and that means unnecessary water and sewer charges. To help you identify and repair leaks, OUC offers the following advice:

  • Make sure no water is running in the house and observe your water meter (If you see the meter's dial or triangle moving, you may have a leak somewhere).
  • Check toilets for silent leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank after it has filled. If coloring shows up in the bowl without flushing, you probably have a leak in or around the flapper valve. (Leaky toilets can usually be repaired inexpensively by replacing the flapper mechanism).
  • Inspect the water level in the toilet tank. The correct water line is about a half-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If it is higher, water is being wasted.
  • Check faucets in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and outside the house. (Worn washers are the biggest cause of faucet leaks.)
  • To find so-called "phantom leaks," such as those occurring in pipes behind walls, under floors or under foundations, homeowners may need to contact a leak detection company.
  • Always repair leaks promptly. If you can't make the repairs yourself, call a licensed plumbing contractor.

Leak Facts

  • A 1/8-inch hole in a metal pipe, at 40 psi (pounds per square inch), leaks 2,500 gallons of water every 24 hours.
  • A leak the size of a pinhead can waste 360,000 gallons a year, enough to fill 12,000 bathtubs to the overflow mark.
  • A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in 30 days.
  • A dripping faucet/hose bibb can lose up to 180 gallons a month, or 2,160 gallons per year.
  • About 1 in every 20 pools has a leak.
  • About 1 in every 318 homes or buildings has a leak.
  • A typical toilet leak at today's rate can add $500 to a single water bill.
  • One trip through a car wash uses 150 gallons of drinking water.
  • Collecting water for gardening from the faucet while waiting for hot water saves about 250 gallons of water a month.
  • Using a broom to clean the sidewalk instead of a hose saves 150 gallons of water.
  • Using a pool cover prevents about 1,000 gallons per month from evaporating.