You cannot see them. You may not even realize they are there. But they could be costing you a lot of water and a lot of money. They are hidden leaks. They could be in pipes you cannot see, in a toilet that you do not notice, even in a hose outside.
Multiply a small leak that produces this much water a day, and in just a few weeks, you could see a lot of water wasted – and a huge water bill.
So, if they are hidden, how do you spot these kinds of leaks? Here are a few ways.
Inspect the water meter.
This is a good way to find out if you have a leak somewhere in your house. First, turn off all of the water to your house. Everything. Make sure all of the faucets are off. Make sure the dishwasher and washer are not running. Make sure no one is taking a shower.
Then, watch the meter. If you see it changing, you know you have a leak, and a larger one at that. If you do not see anything, wait several hours and then check the meter again. If you see that it has changed, it means you have a smaller leak.
Keep tabs on how much water you use.
If you have four people in your family and you are using more than 12,000 gallons of water a month during the winter, chances are you have a leak.
Keep an eye on your bill.
If you see your bill going up, but you are not using any more water, that’s a sign of a leak as well. Gather a few of your water bills over the past few months to make a comparison.
Check your toilets.
They account for about 30 percent of the water you use, so you need to keep an eye on them. To test for a leak, pour some food coloring into the tank. Then wait about 10 minutes. If you see the food coloring moving into the bowl, that means you have a leak.
Check outside as well.
This type of leak isn’t exactly hidden, but it is often overlooked. When you are using the hose outside, do you see any water seeping out where the hose is attached to the faucet? If that is happening, replace the hose gasket.
Check regularly behind cabinets and under bowls for mold or any odors. These could be signs of hidden leaks. Be especially careful if your home is more than 25 years old, because when a house is that age, you are more likely to have leaks. Check all the pipe connections that you can see and valves and look for rust or discoloration, a sign of a slow leak.
It might also be a good idea to have a plumber come to your house once a year to give it a thorough inspection. Yes, you’ll have to pay for the inspection, but unknown water leaks really can result in you having to pay several hundreds of dollars more on your water bill. (One family we know had an unknown leak and ended up paying a $100 water bill for several months. When they found the leak and fixed it, the bill went down to $30.)
If you think you have a leak somewhere and you can’t find it, call Plumbing Dynamics to come check it out. Give us a call at 214-929-3431.