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Checking for Leaks

Minor household leaks account for more than 1 trillion gallons of wasted water every year in the U.S. - that's enough water to fill Lake Cachuma more than 15 times!

Use the guide below to help find leaks on your property.

Checking for Leaks Inside Your Home

  • Check your toilets - 20% of all toilets leak, often silently or at night and can lose up to 200 gallons of water a day.
  • Look for drips - faucets, fixtures, hoses and plumbing in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and appliances.
  • Water softeners can malfunction - Check the salt reservoir. Increased salt use correlates to increased water usage, and may indicate a change in the regeneration schedule or malfunction.
  • Water heaters – these leaks are usually quite obvious and you will discover substantial amounts of water on the floor around your heater. Normally, the first sign of a heater problem is water dripping from the bottom of the jacket. This indicates that the tank has corroded through.
  • On-demand water heaters - leaks in an on-demand hot water system are likely to occur at the connections to the pump, which is typically placed under the sink located furthest from the hot water heater. Check for leaks around the pump as you would around any standard plumbing connections. Look for puddles of water under the sink and inspect the pipe connections to ensure that they are dry.

Checking Your Irrigation System for Leaks

  • Observe irrigation in use – look for broken sprinkler heads, missing emitters, cut drip lines, and saturated areas. Check your irrigation schedule (length of time, number of days and stations).
  • Change your irrigation controller’s back-up battery – the battery in your irrigation controller ensures that your irrigation controller will keep your watering schedule during a power outage. If the battery is dead and the power goes out, irrigation controllers return to the default mode (usually 15 minutes, every station, every day at night), doubling your water bill.
  • Irrigation valve box can leak - listen for the sound of running water at the pressure regulator where the water line comes into the house.
  • Look for drips at all outside plumbing and irrigation.
  • Pools - place a bucket on the top step of the pool and fill it with water to the pool's water level. After a day, if the water level in the pool is lower than the bucket, there probably is a leak in the pool structure or plumbing system.


Last Updated: Sep 12, 2018
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