High Water Consumption and Leak Detection

Leak Detection Brochure  |  HWD Regulations - Leaks  |  How-To Read Your Meter  |  Irrigation Conservation  
Leak Calculator  |  How-To Calculate Water Bill Water Consumption Facts

Consumption may be high for many reasons such as:

Step 1:  Check Water Meter for Leak

Step 2:  Check All Toilets
Pay close attention to your toilet plumbing, where leaks are often hardest to detect.  A quick check can be made by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank after it has filled and quieted, and watching for its appearance in the bowl.  If there is a leak, then color should appear within 15-30 minutes. Even if no leak is detected, the test should be repeated, as such leaks are often intermittent.  Also, if you hear the toilet refilling and no one has used it, there is a leak.  A major toilet leak can waste thousands of gallons of water a day!


Step 3:  Check All Faucets
The most common cause of water waste is a leaky faucet. Because a dripping faucet deceptively appears to be letting out very small amounts of water, this problem is often neglected. A fast drip from a faucet wastes can waste over 200 gallons a day. 


Step 4:  Underground Lines
If you have underground water lines that run to outbuildings or distant hose bibs, shut them off and try to isolate those fixtures then follow STEP 1.  If the reading changes the following morning, that indicates a leak.  Please call your plumber to make the needed repair.


Step 5:  Irrigations Systems
If you have an irrigation system, some signs of irrigation leaks are as follows:

A Final Note
Remember, leaks don't go away on their own, they only get worse with time.  They cause property damage and can become expensive to repair.  Take care of leaks as soon as they are identified, it saves water, money, and limits the complications of water damage.  Smaller repairs can often be made by the homeowner other repairs may require a licensed plumber. 


If you must leave your home empty for any length of time - on vacation, for instance - it might be a good idea to shut off your water valve so that if a serious leak develops while you're away, it will not flood the premises or run up a large water bill for you.


The shutoff or property valve is usually located inside your property, a few feet from the water meter. If a fixture or a pipe is damaged, your first move should be to shut off the supply using this valve. It's most important to keep the shutoff valve clear and within easy access, and in good working order at all times.


The Harwich Water Department offers a seasonal turn off/on service. Please call 508-432-0304.


“One drip a second can waste 2,000 gallons a year.”