Finding a Leak

Finding a leak can be difficult.  Leaks are not always as obvious as we would expect.  Most often, if the leak is metering (higher usage than normal showing on your meter), the leak is on the customer’s portion of the line (pipe, hydrants, etc. after the meter).  Below are some tips & tricks you many want to try to help you identify the leak:

1.  Use our Be a Leak Seeker form to estimate what your daily or monthly water usage should be.

2.  Try to isolate the leak. If you have a meter in your basement you can watch the red dial (small triangle or snowflake). If no one is using water in the house, no livestock are drinking, no tanks are filling, and the dial is moving, that is pretty clear indication that you have a leak.

Many people have a valve to turn the water on and off where the water line comes into the house. You may also have valves to turn the water on and off to outdoor lines. By using these valves and monitoring your meter, you should be able to narrow down where your leak is. If you turn a valve off to the outdoor lines and the red dial on your meter quits spinning then the leak is on your outdoor lines. If the red dial continues to spin then the leak is not on your outdoor lines.

If your meter is not in your basement you can still monitor your usage, but you may need to do it overnight. For example, if you have a valve in the house to turn the water off, turn it off before bed and take a meter reading. When you get up in the morning take another meter reading before you turn the valve back on. If you reading didn’t change overnight, then the leak is after the valve your shut-off. If the meter reading increase by 100 or 200 gallons overnight then the leak is before the valve you shut-off.

3. Toilets are often a culprit for unexpected water usage.  A leak on a toilet can result in up to 16,000 gallons per month extra on your water bill if the leak is severe enough.  To check for toilet leaks, you need only one item… food coloring.   Lift the tank lid of your toilet and put several drops of food coloring in the tank.  Do NOT flush the toilet.  Wait approximately 10 minutes and look for the food coloring to appear in the bowl of the toilet.  If it does, the toilet may have a leaking seal.

4.  Water softeners often can cause abnormal jumps in water usage.  Most water softeners are set to “cycle” at certain intervals set by you or your water softener specialist.  In some cases, these settings can be disrupted/changed, causing your water softener to cycle more often.  Thus using more water than normal.  Check your water softener panel to see how often it is cycling and consult your softener specialist for recommended settings.

5.  Leaks outside of the home can also occur.  Often these leaks are on underground lines, outdoor hydrants, or livestock waterers.  To check your hydrants and the underground lines to the hydrants, grab a fiberglass handled screwdriver.  Place the metal tip of the screwdriver to the head of the hydrant the put your ear to the fiberglass handle.  If there is water moving (possible leak) underground, you will hear a quiet hissing or vibrating sound.


If you’re sure that you have a leak and have tried the above tips/tricks of the trade without success, please call Kingbrook Rural Water or your plumber to receive additional assistance.

If you have an emergency situation please call the office at (605) 983-5074!

Leave a Reply