How to identify water leaks around your home

Checking water meter

Water leaks can happen anywhere within your home and have the potential to waste thousands of litres of precious water per year, as well as making your water bills skyrocket!

Leaks can be caused by anything from changing weather or ground conditions, tree roots or construction work. Whilst it’s not always easy to detect leaks, there are a few things you can check before you call in a plumber.

Read your meter

As a property owner, it is your responsibility to install, maintain and repair all pipes and fittings on your property from the point of connection with the water meter. This includes garden taps, hot water service and water tanks. To check for a water leak on your property:

  1. Turn off all water (taps, washing machine etc.) excluding the tap at the water meter and refrain from using any water.
  2. Record the numbers on your water meter or take a photo. Not sure how to read your meter correctly? Watch a how-to video.
  3. Leave the water off for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour if possible as small leaks may take longer to show.
  4. Take another reading.
  5. Did the reading on your meter increase? If so, this could indicate that have a leak and further investigation is required.

Check your taps and toilets... the worst culprits 

A few drips per minute from a leaking tap may not seem like much but can add up to 12,000 litres of water each year! Changing the tap washer will usually stop the leak in most instances. Watch a video to learn how to change a washer.

Toilet leaks often go unnoticed and are often a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating. If a toilet is left running continuously, it can waste up to 96,000 litres of water per year. To check if your toilet has a leak, follow these quick and easy steps:

  1. Remove the lid of your toilet cistern.
  2. Place a few drops of food dye into the cistern.
  3. Do not flush your toilet for 10-15 minutes.
  4. If the dye has seeped down into the bowl when you return, then you know you have a leak.

Watch a video to learn how to check if your toilet is leaking

Underground leaks

If you checked your toilet and taps and your water meter is still ticking over even with the water switched off, you may have a hidden leak in an underground pipe. Take a walk around your property and look for green patches of grass that are different from the grass around it. This may indicate an underground pipe leak.

Seen a water leak in a public place?

On the Central Coast, we have over 2,600km of water mains that deliver essential water services for the community. If you see water leaking in a public place, such as on a road or footpath, contact Council immediately on 02 4306 7900 so we can investigate the problem as soon as possible. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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