Water leaks can become very costly in terms of both wasting the precious resource and your hard-earned cash. The easiest way to determine if you have a leak in your plumbing system is to check your water meter.
The first step is to take a reading. Then, after an hour or two of not using any water outside or inside your house, take another reading. If there’s been a change in the numbers, you have a leak.
Sources of a leak
A worn rubber washer is usually the main culprit for a leaking tap. These are relatively easy to replace, if you have the right tools, as you do have to open the tap mechanism. You will also need to turn off the water under the sink or at the mains. Your local hardware shop will be able to assist you with advice on how to fix the problem.
Even the smallest leak in your toilet system can waste a lot of water and money over time. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are easy and inexpensive to repair.
The painless way to check for a leak is to add a few drops of food colouring or other coloured dye to the cistern. Wait about 30 minutes, without flushing, and then see if any of the colour is visible in the bowl. If the answer is yes, then you have a leak.
There are three possible sites for a toilet leak
The flush valve is the rubber seal at the bottom of the cistern that lifts when the toilet is flushed. A worn or cracked flush valve will allow water to continuously trickle into the bowl.
If the handle needs to be lifted or jiggled to keep the toilet from running after a flush, then the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet cistern. If that does not work, the handle may have to be replaced.
The float valve is the plastic ball at the end of a metal arm, which controls the water level of the cistern. If it is faulty, water will flow into the overflow tube, basically constituting a leak. The water level can be tweaked by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube. If neither of these options works, you may need to contact a plumber to repair or replace the toilet.
Look for wet or warped patches or discolouration stains on your ceilings, floors, walls and on the woodwork at the bottom of your kitchen or bathroom sink cabinet. Check to see where the leak originates, as it may not necessarily be at the spot where the damage is evident.