Common Household Water Leaks


Running toilets are a common source of leaks, and are easy to fix. Locate a leak by listening for running water or doing a dye test. When the tank is full, check that the water level stops about one inch below the top of the overflow tube.

If the water is too high, adjust the water level screw or repair the float valve. If not, check the flapper.

Dye Test Put food coloring or a dye tablet in the toilet tank and don’t flush. Wait 15 minutes and then check the toilet bowl. If you see color in the bowl, the tank has a leak—most likely from a worn flapper valve. You can pick up a dye tablet at the Village Hall.

Flapper The flapper valve is the rubber stopper at the bottom of the toilet tank. Flappers can become warped over time, preventing a watertight seal on the flush valve. You can replace it easily and inexpensively using these step-by-step instructions. To check the flapper’s condition: Turn off the toilet’s water supply (usually it has a diamond shaped handle, near the wall at the base of the toilet). Mark the water level inside the tank. Wait 15 minutes. If the water level has dropped below your mark, replace the flapper or plunger ball. If the water level has stayed the same, then the problem is an overflow near the top of the tank, involving the float ball or the fill valve—or both. For more complex leaks, contact your local handyperson or plumber for professional advice. Visually inspect your faucets and showers for cracks, leaks, and drips. Look for a puddle of water around the bottom of your water heater tank. Inspect flexible rubber hoses connecting to pipes for deterioration. Faucets and Showerheads Leaks commonly occur in: Rubber hosing; A connection point to the pipe; worn faucet washer. With the water off, check for dripping or leaking. With the water on, check for water spraying in the wrong direction. Modern faucets are usually simple to fix with minimal tools. Online resources can help you repair faucet and tub spouts, dripping faucets, showerheads, and garden spigots. Otherwise, contact your local handyperson or plumber.

Rubber Hoses Flexible rubber hoses connect your sink, toilet, washing machine, and dishwasher to water pipes. These hoses deteriorate over time. Look for black flakes and cracked rubber, and replace suspect hoses before they burst and damage your property. Rubber hoses and durable alternatives such as stainless steel braided line and copper flex tubing are typically available at your local hardware store.


An irrigation schedule with excess cycles can waste thousands of gallons of water. Program your controller to maximize efficiency, and replace the battery if the controller resets due to a power outage.

Not all leaks are obvious. Irrigation leaks can be at the sprinkler head, in the non-mainline piping (lateral pipe) or at the valves. Wet patches on your property, driveway, sidewalk or spots that are greener than the rest of the landscape may indicate a leak. Clean, repair or replace any:

· Disconnected or torn hoses · Missing or clogged drip emitters.

· Broken or clogged spray heads. · Valves with dirt buildup.

· Disconnected or torn drip tubing.

Run Your Irrigation System Run one station at a time, checking for the following: Uneven pressure. This could indicate a leak in an underground pipe. You may need to contact a leak detection service for assistance. Sprinkler heads that seep water after an irrigation cycle ends. Replace these with heads equipped with "check valves" to stop the water from leaking out. Often referred to as "low head drainage," sprinkler heads at the lowest elevation may drain the water that is in the pipe. Misting (very fine water droplets in the air). This indicates too much pressure. If all zones are misting, you may need to have an irrigation professional install a pressure-regulating valve. If only a particular zone is misting, you may be able to turn down the flow control at the valve(s). Spray hitting a sidewalk or driveway instead of plants, adjust the direction.

Leaking where a garden hose connects to the spigot. Replace the nylon or rubber hose gasket and ensure a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.


Additional information on water leaks can be found here: Leaks