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Is your water bill high? Damp areas around the home or outside? Do you suspect you have a water leak? How do you know if you have a water leak? Here is our tips on how to detect water leaks. The first step and best way too determine if you have a leak in your plumbing system, is by first checking your water meter. Your water meter will be outside near the footpath.

Steps To Using Your Water Meter To Check For Leaks

1. Make sure you aren’t using any water – both inside or outside of your house. This can include washing machines etc.

2. Locate your water meter. Water meters are usually located on the nature strip outside your property; your water meter will be set in the ground in a blue or black box. Open it and check to see if the indicator is moving. Depending on the brand of your meter, the leak indicator could be a wheel that rotates when water is flowing through the meter. If it is moving – chances are – you have a leak.

You can also take a meter reading and wait 1 or 2 hours and take another meter reading (make sure no water is used during this time). If the reading has changed, you have a leak.

Ok so you have a leak – you need to now check whether the leak is inside or outside of the house.

1. Locate the main water shut off valve for your home and shut off the water at the valve.

2. Once shut off – check the water meter indicator for movement, again making sure not to use any water during this period. If the leak indicator stops moving or there is no change in the meter readings, then you have a leak inside of the house. If the leak indicator continues to move or there is a change in the meter readings, then the leak is outside between the meter and the house.

If you are unable to determine where the leak – you may need to call a plumber with leak detection know how.

So what are some common causes of leaks that you can find?

Leaking Toilets

Toilet leaks are a very common way to lose water. Toilet leaks can waste hundreds of litres of water and can often be silent making it difficult to notice. Even a relatively small leak can add up to a lot of wasted water (and money!) over time. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are easy and inexpensive for a plumber to repair.

To determine if you have a leaking toilet – simply remove the tank lid and place a few drops of food colouring in back of the toilet tank. Wait about 30 minutes – without flushing – and then look in the toilet bowl to see of any food colour has come through. If the bowl water is clear – then the water is not leaking from the tank. If you see food colouring in the bowl – then you have a leak.

Toilet Flush Handle Issues

If the toilet handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running – the flush level bar (or the handle itself) may be sticking. The toilet handle may have to be replaced or the flush water level will need to be looked at.

Toilet Overflow Tube Leaks

Ideally the water level in the cistern should be set so that is about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank. If the water is too high and is spilling into the overflow tube – the water level can be adjusted 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 this doesn’t fix the issue – please contact a plumber to repair or replace it.

Leaking Taps

Leaking taps are another very common way of wasting water. Leaking taps are generally a result of a worn rubber washer. The washer on a sink tap is usually located under the handle. These washers are relatively easy to replace – if you have the right tools!

Before taking the tap apart – make sure you shut off the water under the sink or at the main shutoff valve before removing the tap handle.

Wastewater Or Sewer Leaks

Wastewater or sewer leaks are usually not under pressure as they are moved by gravity. This makes wastewater or sewer leaks much harder to detect. If you suspect a wastewater leak, please call one of our experienced for help.

Be aware that the exact location of a wastewater leak may not always be obvious. Some leaks may start at one location – then flow along a channel, guttering, ledge for a distance before they drain down and create something visible.

Be on the lookout for wet, warped or discolored stains on your floors, walls, ceilings, and woodwork – such as the bottom of your kitchen or bathroom sink cabinets. As you attempt repair the damaged areas – be sure to check for the actual location of the leak.

Water Condensation

Water condensation can also be a suspected form of water leaks. While condensation is mostly normal – too much condensation can cause damage. Insulating your pipes may stop or reduce this condensation.

Leak Detection In The Yard Or Underground

1. Visual Detection

Look and feel for portions of your property that are always damp or very wet. Inspect your yard, areas around paths, the driveway, curb or street for evidence of any leaking water. It won’t always be a steady stream of water – it may be a puddle that never dries up, or a even darker spot on dry concrete.

2. Meter Reading

As mentioned above, look at your water meter and write down the meter reading. Don’t run any water for a few hours. Re-read your meter. If the meter as moved – and you’ve already fixed all other known leaks in the house – then you may have an underground water leak.

In any case – contacting a professional plumber that specialises in leak detection can save you time, damage to your property and belongings, high water bills and money.

National Plumbing are your one stop point of contact for all leak detection, repairs, supply and installation. We use only the best and latest equipment in leak detection technology.


For all your emergency and general plumbing needs throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast, you can reply on National Plumbing. We are open 7 days, have no call out fees and offer a same day service. You can call us on 1300 246 627.