Dripping pipes, stained walls and damaged ceilings are all signs of plumbing leaks, but sometimes leaks aren’t so obvious. Hidden leaks waste water and can wreak havoc on a home’s structure for months before they become obvious. Thankfully, it’s easy to check for both seen and unseen plumbing leaks in your home. Here’s how to conduct a water meter test to check for plumbing leaks.
Conduct a Water Meter Test
A water meter test will tell if your home has any plumbing leaks. The test takes about 1 to 2 hours and doesn’t require any advanced tools. To complete a water meter test on your home:
- Make sure all of the things in your house that use water are turned off or not in use.
- Locate your water meter and record its current reading.
- Do not use any water for 1 to 2 hours.
- After 1 to 2 hours, return to the water meter and check its reading.
- If the readings are identical, no water moved through the meter during the test.
Therefore, you can conclude that your home doesn’t have any plumbing leaks.
- If the readings are different, water was “used” during the test — even though no one actually used any water.
There is a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing.
NOTE: Some water meters have a leak indicator that shows when water is running through the meter. If your meter has such an indicator, you can simply check the indicator once all the water in the house has been turned off. There’s no need to wait 1 to 2 hours.
Try to Locate Any Plumbing Leaks
If your water meter test indicates that your home has a leak, you can begin to identify where the leak is by performing the same test again — this time with your home’s water supply turned off.
Locate your home’s main water shutoff valve and close it. (This may require a special tool; your local municipality will be able to tell you how to turn off your home’s valve.)
Once the valve is closed, perform the meter test again. If the test still shows there is a leak, the leak is between the meter and your home’s main shutoff valve. If the meter’s reading doesn’t change this time, the leak is somewhere in your home.
If your test(s) have indicated that your house does indeed have a leak, it is time to go sleuthing to find it. At this point, you may want to consult folks with expertise in plumbing repair. We have been talking about the value of testing for leaks on a regular basis. Fixing them is another story. Many folks want experts to do that work.
You might also like:
- How To Test Your Emergency Shut-Off Valves
- How To Check Your Supply Lines
- How To Check Your Whole House Water Pressure
- How To Winterize Exterior Faucets
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