Imagine waking up one morning to find an unusually high water bill. Your first thought is that a mistake was made, but your second thought should be this question…
Do I have a water leak in my house?
At this point, you go to look for obvious leaks.
You’ve checked all the faucets in your house and none of them are dripping, and no toilets are running. So, where could this mysteriously high water usage be coming from?
The answer might be lying underground, between your house and the water meter.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to find a hidden water leak between your house and the water meter.
So, “How do I find a water leak between my house and meter?” Let’s dig in.
How To Find That Water Leak Between Your House and Meter: The Smart Way
Finding a water leak can be difficult, and might require a professional plumber to find and fix it.
Here’s where things get fun. Alright, we might have overstated the “fun” part. But, there are some DIY techniques that can help you with this leak detection.
Your water supply comes in from the water main, which is the city supply line. It runs into your house, where you have a main shut-off valve.
You will need to check out the valve and water line around the valve to make sure nothing is leaking here.
And somewhere along this water pipe will be the meter box. It can often be found near the shut-off valve, or on the outside wall near where the main line enters the building.
This is true for a household leak but also applies to any small commercial building.
The leak needs to be just at or after the meter. If it’s a water main leak, this won’t show up on your water bill (while you are not required to repair this.
You should report it to your local water department if you suspect any leak – as it wastes precious water and costs all of us more money in the long haul).
The Simple Way To Find That Leak Between Your House and Meter
Now that you’ve ruled out some of the more common water leaks, it’s time to check your water meter.
Find your shut-off valve and shut it off. Simple. But make sure your valve is not leaking, or allowing any water to flow past a damaged or corroded valve.
Now it’s time to monitor your water consumption. Take a look at the water meter. If the dial is moving, water is leaking out somewhere between the meter and the shut-off valve.
If the dial isn’t moving, write down the reading on the meter. Wait overnight, then check the reading again. If it’s the same, great! If it’s higher, you’ve found the leak.
Now let’s see if we can’t be more precise…
Pin Down That Water Leak Between Your House and Meter
To make the needed water supply line repair, you will need to pin down where the leak is at. If it’s an underground or under slab plumbing leak, you will need a professional to make the repair.
- Inject pressurized air into the main line.
- Cut into your drywall to expose any pipes that might be leaking. This is in areas where you detect damp or wet spots or any water stains. You will be able to see if the pipes/connectors are leaking.
- Do some digging. If you have signs of water leaking, you can carefully dig down to the pipe. If you hit soggy ground, you have found your leak.
Some of these methods are not simple DIYs. And even if you find the precise location of the leak, you will probably need the services of a professional plumbing company that specializes in slab leak repairs.
Here is a video that covers injecting pressurized air into the main line to find a water leak between the house and the meter:
BTW…Make Sure The Water Leak Isn’t Coming From An Obvious Source
Your plumbing system has many points where water leaks can occur. That’s why finding that plumbing leak can be a frustrating DIY. Frustrating or not, there are some things you can do.
And to be clear, we are talking about the water supply line. This is separate from your wastewater plumbing system. The pipes that bring your potable (drinking water) into the house make up the water supply lines.
Signs to look for:
- High water bill.
- The sound of running water.
- Wet or soggy spots in your yard, or areas of lush green grass.
- Low water pressure (this is less common unless you have a major leak).
Look for obvious points where the leak might be: toilet leak, hot water tank, outside spigot, a wet spot along the wall or floor indicating a hidden leak, other water damage, etc.
If this does not uncover the concealed leak, it probably lies between the meter and shut-off valve.
This can make water leak detection much more difficult, as it suggests the leak is inside the wall or underneath your foundation.
Yes, we are talking about a possible slab leak which will require a water supply line repair.
Before panic sets in, let’s look further.
Turn off all devices that use water. Sinks, tubs, water heater, washing machine, toilet bowl, etc. Don’t forget any irrigation system, pool, or other plumbing systems like a boiler.
Once you have all these devices turned off, take a look at the water meter. If the meter is still running, that indicates you have a leak somewhere in your water supply. But not so fast…
If it doesn’t appear to be running, write down the reading. Wait overnight, and do another meter reading.
If it’s higher than the first reading, you have a leak – hopefully a small leak. But big or small, it needs to be found and fixed.
Pro Tip: Some older water line installations might involve an irrigation system line off a “T” near the water meter. If you can’t locate a water leak inside your house or along your main supply line in the yard, make sure you check the irrigation line if you have one.
While irrigation lines should come off the main line, some homeowners might be unaware of “creative” installations or connections made prior to their home purchase.
Summary: How Do I Find a Water Leak Between My House and Meter?
Finding a water leak between your house and the meter can be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible.
By understanding how your water system works, using your water meter to check for leaks, and following the practical steps outlined in this guide, you should be able to find that leak.
Remember, every situation is unique, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Water conservation is critically important, for our environment and our bank account.
So, take the time to check for leaks regularly and fix them promptly to ensure a sustainable future.
FAQs About How Do I Find a Water Leak Between My House and Meter
How do I find out where my water is leaking from?
Check your water meter. After turning off all your water-using appliances, see if the meter is still running. If it is, you have a leak somewhere.
What is the most common water leak in the house?
Faucets are one of the most common places where you will find leaks. The good news is that you can fix most of these leaks yourself.
Will a slow leak seal itself?
Sometimes very small leaks (pinhole leaks) can seal themselves as the corrosion builds up around the opening. But most of the time, leaks will continue to waste water and can get bigger. So get that leak fixed.