It is possible to detect leaks in your home on your own. Most water leaks can be seen or heard, though some can be difficult to detect.
Check your water bill each month. The bill has a chart that shows 13 months of water usage. Compare your current bill to the last bill for the same month. Is your usage in a similar range? If no, and you don't know why, check for a leak. If your usage level seems higher than you think it should be, check for a leak.
Determining if You Have a Water Leak & Isolating the Location
Pin-pointing of where a leak might be located can help save hundreds of dollars in plumber fees. Fixing the problem helps conserve water and save money on your bill.
Is there a Leak?
Here are steps to check if you have a leak:
- Turn off all water sources being used in the house or any water features in your yard. Locate the water meter on your property.
- Remove the meter box lid and lift up the metal cover on the meter and locate the red triangle on the face of the water meter. If your meter does not have a red triangle, make note of the location of the needle on the meter.
- Check to see if the red triangle or needle has moved after one minute.
If you have all of your water off in the house/yard and the red triangle is spinning or after five minutes the needle has moved, a leak is present somewhere on the property side of the meter. Also, if you still feel that you might have a leak, you can look at the meter when you go to bed and then look first thing in the morning (making sure no one uses water in that time). If you have you a bad leak it can be seen pretty fast. If it is a smaller leak, like a small leak in the toilet, it may take more time to see it in the meter.
Finding the Leak
Isolate the line that runs from the house to the street. Follow these steps:
Turn off the water valve at the house and at the backflow device (for the irrigation/sprinklers.)
- If the red triangle/needle is turning there is a leak in the service line.
- If the red triangle/needle is not moving turn the backflow device back on and check the meter again. If the red triangle/needle is turning there is a leak in the irrigation/sprinkler system.
- If the triangle/needle is not spinning at this point, turn the backflow device off and turn the water valve at the house back on.
- If the triangle/needle is spinning there is a leak in the house.
- When done, turn on the water valve at the house and at the backflow device (for the irrigation/sprinklers).
Where to Look for a Water Leak In & Around Your House
Check your house for leaking toilets (ex. a toilet flapper not tightly fitted), faucets dripping, look under sinks/fixtures and in crawl spaces. You may also want to check your faucets and hose connections for leaks and examine any outdoor water features for drips. Inspect pipes for pinhole leaks, leaking joints, etc. Check around your house for puddles of water or investigate your property for soft spots. Listen for the leak. In pipes with 30 PSI or higher water pressure, there may be a “Hiss” or “Whoosh” sound indicating a leak may be present.
Who to Contact When You Have Determined You Have a Water Leak
If you need assistance locating or repairing a leak you have several choices depending on your particular situation. Some people can dig up the suspected area and even fix their own leak. This is your choice and could help eliminate expensive repair costs. You could also hire a professional. Leak detection companies, plumbers or even sprinkler repair businesses can fix leaks and these companies can easily be found in the phone book or online.
Still Need Assistance Determining if You Have a Leak
If you need assistance, please call Kevin McCaleb, Water Conservation Coordinator at (503) 675-3747 or the Operations Water Department at (503) 635-0280. Appointments to check for a leak can be scheduled Monday - Friday from 8 am to 2:30 pm. You may also submit a request for a water leak check through our Citizen Request Tracker.
Getting Your Water Turned Off
- If you have an emergency water leak after normal business hours and you need to get your water turned off, please call the Lake Oswego Police Dispatch at (503) 635-0238.