Sometimes leaks are very obvious. The easiest way to determine if you have a leak is to check your water meter. It is the property owner/resident’s responsibility to water their own meter and detect possible leaks.
Charlottetown residential water meters have a low flow indicator (see below).
The triangular shaped “Low Flow Indicator” will move when even the smallest amount of water is passing through the meter. You should use the” low flow indicator” periodically to check for leaks in your property.
How to check for leaks in your property using your water meters “Low Flow Indicator”.
- Check to ensure that all faucets, and any appliances that use water, are turned off and make sure that toilets are not flushed during the test.
- Look at your meter and make sure that the “Low Flow Indicator is NOT moving. If it is NOT moving, you do not have any leaks. If you can see it moving then there is likely a leak in your property, check your toilets first, incorrectly seated or worn out toilet flappers are the No.1 cause of leaks in the home.
Stratford meters have a leak detector icon of a faucet, which will normally not be visible. If the faucet icon is on, this is an indication that you have a leak. The icon will flash indicating that water usage has taken place for more than 50% of the time during a 24 hour period. If the faucet icon remains on continuously, this indicates that water usage has occurred at least once every 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, indicating there is most likely a leak at your property (ie: even during likely sleeping hours of 11 pm to 6 am when no water usage would be anticipated in most homes).
Check for leaks
You likely haven’t noticed, but your toilet may be leaking. Leaks often can’t be heard or seen, unless you have a look inside the tank, and you might need a flashlight, or a few drops of food colouring to really be sure.
Two common leak locations in your toilet tank are the toilet flapper (at the very bottom) and the overflow tube (at the very top). If the seal on the flapper is not tight, water will slowly drip out of the tank and down the drain. If the water level in your tank is adjusted too high, water will slowly run over the tube and down the drain. These leaks may not seem like a lot, but over time they can amount to thousands of litres.
To see if your overflow tube is leaking, hold a flashlight directly over the tube so that you can look down into the bottom of the tube. Note whether the water level is at the lip of the tube. Check the inside walls of the tube, and the base of the tube. If the water level is at the lip of the tube and you see any moisture or movement inside the tube, this is likely a leak slowly dripping into the tube.
After fixing your overflow tube leak (or determining that you don’t have one), check the flapper. To see if you have a flapper leak, remove the lid of your toilet tank and squeeze 4 – 5 drops of food colouring into the tank (use a dark colour – not yellow!). Wait and watch to see if any of the food colouring begins to show up in the toilet bowl. This may take up to five minutes. If you see colour in the toilet bowl, your flapper likely has a leak.
A leaking toilet could be wasting as much as .1m3 of water per day for a small leak and up to 15m3/day for a large leak. You likely have a leaking toilet if:
- You can hear water running through the toilet when it is not in use.
- You can see water running down the sides of the bowl long after it has been flushed.
Sometimes though, leaks are silent and can go on for months or even years before being found. Checking a toilet for a silent leak is easy:
- Remove the lid from the tank.
- Remove any cleaners that may change the colour of the water.
- Place dye tablets* (pictured) in the tank. You can also use food colouring, instant coffee or drink mix.
- Wait 20 minutes without flushing the toilet.
- If the water in the bowl has changed colour you know that water is leaking from the tank.
*available at Charlottetown, Cornwall or Stratford Utility