Testing a Water Leak

Detecting a Water Leak

One of the major causes of high water consumption resulting in a high water bill is due to a plumbing leak, toilet leak, or irrigation system leak or malfunction. Your water meter may be your most useful tool in identifying water leaks on your property. If all sources of water are turned off in the house (washing machine, dish washer, etc.) a leak can be determined by reading your water meter.

All of the water meters contain a leak indicator, such as a small red triangle or round black dial in the center of the meter that turns when water is being used. Referenced in the pictures below are the Master Meter and Neptune (Schlumberger) meter brands, which the Town of Flower Mound currently has. Looking in the meter box you can indicate which type of meter is connected to the service line at your property.
A Neptune (Schlumberger) style meter           A Master Meter

When a Leak is Detected

Should this dial turn or the numbers advance when no water has been used, this indicates that a leak exists in your plumbing system. If the leak indicators show no indication of movement, to determine if a leak exists, read all the numbers on the water meter and make a note or drawing of the meter face and where all meter dials are located. Do not use any water on the premises for at least 6 to 8 hours. Next, reread the meter to see if the dials or numbers have moved. If movement has occurred, you have a leak.

To easily check if a toilet has a leak, perform a dye test. Place several drops of food coloring in the tank of the toilet but DO NOT FLUSH. Let stand for 30 minutes. Now check the toilet bowl. If the coloring has now appeared in the bowl, your toilet "flapper" valve needs replacement. If no color appears, you most likely do not have a leak. Also, check the water level in the tank. It should be at least one-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If less than one-inch adjust the ball float and recheck water level.