Follow these tips to find leaks inside or outside your home.

Turn Off the Water

Before you look for leaks, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your home.

Locate Your Water Meter

About 90 percent of all area residential water meters are located in the front sidewalk. The first step is to check your water meter for movement. Look at the top of the meter. You'll notice a triangle called a flow indicator. The red triangle (flow indicator) will move whenever water is passing through it. If your meter doesn't have a flow indicator, you can use the sweep hand on the register to indicate water loss. If either the flow indicator or the sweep hand is moving, you may have a leak or malfunction.

Check Your Toilets

The most common cause of leaks are toilets. Replacing worn rubber toilet flappers usually corrects the problem. To test for a toilet leak, place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 5 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Check our toilet leaks page for more information.

Check Your Irrigation System

Shut off the anti-siphon valve that serves your sprinkler system. Check the red flow-indicator triangle at the water meter. If the flow indicator stopped moving, the sprinkler system is the problem.

Check Your Water Softener

Most softeners have a bypass lever. Turn the lever to allow water to bypass the softener. Check the red flow-indicator triangle at the meter. If the triangle is no longer moving, you have isolated the leak to your softener. (You also can check for leaking swamp coolers, water-cooled air conditioners, ice machines and reverse osmosis units by turning the bypass lever on each and checking the meter).

Check Your Pool

First turn off the automatic fill valve and place a bucket on a step where the bucket rim is at least a few inches above the water line. Then place a heavy weight in the bucket and add water until the water level inside the bucket is equal with the water level in the pool. Leave the bucket and pool undisturbed for several hot days, then compare the water level in the bucket to the water level in the pool. If the water level in the bucket is noticeably higher than the water level in the pool, you may be losing water to a leak. If this is the case, contact a pool leak detection specialist for further assistance.

Check Your Main Service Line

First, you need to find your water shutoff valve. This is usually in your front yard near the sewer riser cap, in your garage or near your water softener unit. Shut off the valve, cutting off all water to your home, and go in the house and turn on a faucet to make sure the water is off. Check the red flow-indicator triangle at the meter. If the red triangle is moving, the leak is between the shutoff valve and the water meter.

Now What?

First, close the water meter cap to prevent damage to the lens and replace the meter box lid. If you are not able to find the leak, call a professional plumber to locate and fix the leak(s). If you find a simple leak like your toilet flapper or kitchen faucet, you may want to fix the problem yourself.