How to check if your house has a water leak

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A couple of weeks ago I had a client ask for my advice regarding what could be causing high water bills. The client requested for a plumber to check out the property as they had monitored the bills over a couple of quarters and couldn’t work out why the usage was consistently so high as there were only two people living in the property. She concluded that there must have been a water leak on the property to warrant the extra charges. Her theory was true to a point but needed to be proved.

So I sent my dad to the property to check out the water meter. The best way on how to check if your house has a water leak is to see if the numbers at the top of the water meter click over when no water is being used in the house. If the numbers stay the same you know that there isn’t a water leak, but if the numbers slowly roll over, you know that water is being used or leaking from somewhere along the water line.

A typical water meter in Brisbane
A typical water meter in Brisbane

When looking at your water meter, the round dials would also be rotating if there was a water leak. If they stay in the same position, this also confirms that there is no water leak. The dials calculate the water usage to an exact figure. Some water meters have these dials, others don’t.

If the house does have a leak by doing the water meter test, the next step is determining where the water is leaking from.

There are plumbers that specialize in leak detection services and are able to track the water pipe leading from the water meter into your property and can locate the exact position of the water leak.

The water meter at the client’s rental property stayed the same which meant there was no water leak and the charges for the water were because of high usage. Another explanation could be from the water meter not being read correctly (or at all) and so I advised them to make a note of the amount of water used each day and to correlate the figures with the next bill. Taking a digital photo of the water meter after each day is another way to diarise the water usage. If the figures aren’t within the same range from what has been written down to what has been sent on the bill, it’s time to ring the water supplier and show the evidence of the inconsistency.

I do know of one organization suing a water supplier for water bills that they paid for on a water meter that was buried in the ground and had never been read since the day it was put in!!

Since water supplies in most areas of Australia have been privatized, it pays to be vigilant at watching your water usage and monitoring your bills. You don’t want to be paying for water you haven’t used.

For more on how to ready your water meter in Brisbane, check out Urban Utilities Reading your Water Meter page.