How to Detect Water Leaks
Detecting water leaks in your home is important. Water leaks cost money, put more stress on aquatic ecosystems, contribute to pipe failures, reduce water quality and pose a threat to your family’s health.
Here are 6 ways to detect water leaks in your home:
1. Conduct a Meter Dial Test
One way to detect if there are water leaks in your home is by monitoring the meter dial. First, turn all faucets and water-using appliances off, then locate the water meter dial; it’s usually found in the basement where the water pipe enters your home. Observe the red triangle on your meter dial. If the red triangle moves even though you’ve turned off all faucets and all water-using appliances, then there is a water leak somewhere in your home.
You can also conduct a slow leak test. You can do this by recording your meter’s reading before you sleep, after you’re done using water for the day. Check the meter’s reading again in the morning before using any water. An increase in the meter’s reading will indicate that there is a water leak somewhere in your home.
2. Conduct a Toilet Tank Test
To find out if your toilet tank has a leak, drop a small amount of food coloring into the toilet tank. After 10 minutes, observe the toilet bowl. If there’s any discoloration in the toilet bowl, then your toilet tank is leaking. Make sure that after this test, you flush the discolored water as this can cause staining.
One of the most common causes for toilet tank leaks are old or worn-out toilet flappers, also known as the valve seal. A flapper is made from rubber. Over time, minerals and decay build up on the flapper. However, it can easily be replaced to fix the toilet tank leak; just bring the old flapper to the nearest hardware store to make sure that it perfectly fits your toilet model.
Other possible causes for a toilet tank leak are flappers that are not properly seated in the valve, misaligned or bent flapper wires and corroded valve seats.
In the event that the leak is around the base of the toilet tank or where the toilet sits on the floor, it’s time to call a professional.
According to the Natural Resources Canada, a toilet that continues to run after flushing can waste up to 200,000 liters of water per year.
3. Conduct a Faucet Leak Inspection
Finding a faucet leak is probably the easiest as this requires only a visual inspection. A leaking faucet will drip even when you turn the dial off. The problem with finding a faucet leak is when you have a number of faucets in your home; checking every one of them can be tedious.
The most common cause of faucet leaks are old and worn faucet washers and gaskets. The Do-It-Yourself Network has a tutorial for faucet repairs.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second will waste 3,000 gallons of water per year. This wasted water is equivalent to the amount of water needed for over 180 showers.
4. Conduct a Showerhead Leak Inspection
Similar to faucets, finding out whether a showerhead is leaking can be determined by a simple visual inspection – if there’s a drip when you turn the dial off, you have a leak.
According to EPA, 500 gallons of water is wasted each year as a result of a showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute. This is equivalent to the amount of water you need to wash 60 loads in your dishwasher.
A showerhead leak can be fixed by tightening the connection between the pipe stem and the showerhead with pipe tape. Pipe tape, also known as Teflon tape, is available at your nearest hardware store.
5. Conduct an Outdoor Leak Inspection
If you’re using an in-ground irrigation system, conduct a visual inspection of each spring for leaks as irrigation systems are susceptible to damage from frost or freezing.
According to EPA, an in-ground irrigation system that has a leak that is 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (similar to the thickness of a dime) will waste 6,300 gallons of water per month.
6. Use Flowie and Floodie Sensors
The best way to detect water leaks is by using the Flowie and Floodie sensors.
The Floodie sensor is a flood sensor that can be placed in flood-prone areas like under the toilet tank, dishwasher, water heater or in the basement. Once the Floodie sensor comes in contact with water, it sends text, email and in-app alerts.
The Flowie sensor is a water sensor that’s strapped onto the municipal water meter. This sensor comes with the following features:
- Detects leaks and abnormal usage
- Measures and reports water usage
- Reports trends and analytics on water use, costs and changes
- Reports power outages
- Reports basement temperature and humidity
- Sends text, email and in-app alerts for emergencies
The Flowie sensor is particularly useful in detecting water leaks that aren’t visible – for instance, pipe leaks. If undetected, leaks in water pipes may cause future pipe failures. Pipe leaks could also result in water contamination in your home, in turn threatening your health. Water leaks also result in mold growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people have different reactions to molds.
“Some people are sensitive to molds,” the CDC said. “For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions.”
Detecting water leaks in your home is crucial to saving money, saving the environment and for providing a healthy environment for you and your family.
Call us today to learn about the water detection option for your home and prevent a disaster.