Many water meters come with a leak indicator, which is a separate indicator from the odometer-like reader that tracks overall water use. First, find your water meter. It's going to be between the water main and your home. To use the leak indicator, make sure all water use in your home has stopped, including automatic appliances like water heaters. Make sure nothing is running or filling up. Go back and look at the leak indicator. If it is moving, you have a leak inside your home.
Did your water bill suddenly shoot up? Is it higher than it was a year ago? The water meter tracks the water that passes through it, whether it ends up in your shower or leaking from a pipe behind a wall. If you are paying for more water than you remember using, it could be a leaking pipe.
Do you think you have a leaking pipe in your home?
Here are a few ways to find a leaking pipe before it becomes a bigger and more expensive problem.
Check your water bill
A leaking pipe will deposit water where it shouldn't be. As that water stagnates it begins to cause problems. Those include:
Mold or mildew on non-shower walls
Visible mold or mildew in a place where it shouldn't be, like on the opposite wall near a washing machine or other appliance is an indicator of a leaking pipe within the wall.
Stained, warped or sagging floors and ceilings
All of these are indicators that a leaking pipe is already causing structural damage. It must be dealt with immediately to prevent further damage.
If your home still smells musty no matter how often you clean it, that is an indication of a hidden water leak somewhere.
So what do you do next if a higher bill (or your nose) tells you there is a potential problem with a leaking pipe?
Use your water meter
If it's not moving, the next step is to check and see if you have an even bigger leak problem. Find the main water shutoff valve to your home and close it. Now check the leak indicator again. If it's moving, you have an underground leak between the water meter and your home. These types of leaks are serious because they can lose thousands of gallons of water before they are discovered and can be very expensive to fix. Remember, the home owner is responsible for the plumbing between the water meter and the home.
If you are not comfortable with finding and using the water meter to detect a suspected leak, a licensed plumber can be hired to do the job for you.
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