Detecting a Leak


In order to promote wise water use and minimize the loss of water at your property, the HCWA encourages all customers to check for leaks periodically.  Below are some tips on how to check for leaks.

Follow these easy steps:

  • Turn off all water inside and outside of the house, including showers, sinks, the washing machine, and any appliance that uses water.
  • Take the lid off the meter box.  Be careful, as lids can be heavy, and sometimes bugs and small animals hide inside meter boxes.
  • Watch the meter.
  • Your meter has a triangular black or red flow indicator on it.  If it is spinning, you have a leak.
  • If the indicator is not moving, note the position and wait ten minutes.  Check the meter again, if it has moved, you have a slow leak.
  • Locate the main shut-off valve in your house.  It is usually located near the hot water heater in the basement, garage, or crawl space.
  • Turn off the valve.
  • Turn on a faucet inside the house to test.
  • If water still flows from the faucet after several seconds, the shut-off valve is not working.  There is no way to tell if the leak is indoors or outdoors.
  • If no water flows through the faucet, the shut-off valve is working.  Return to the meter.
  • Check if the meter's flow indicator is moving.
  • If the leak indicator or dial hand is still moving, water is flowing between the meter and the shut-off valve.  That means you have an underground leak.
  • If it is not moving, then you have an indoor leak.

The most common type of water loss is through a toilet malfunction.  To test your toilets, place water base food coloring or dark liquid in the backside of the toilet tank.  Wait approximately 45-60 minutes and check the toilet bowl.  If the water in the bowl has started to change colors, then you have what is known as the silent leak in your toilet.


To learn how to fix your common leaks, please visit