How you can tell where a water leak is coming from

You can use your water meter to help identify if you have a water leak, and if it’s located outside or inside the home. Find the water leak by using the following steps:

  • Find the water supply shut-off valve, usually located where the main water pipe enters the home’s foundation. This is often near an outside faucet. If there’s no water supply shut-off valve, you should have one professionally installed!
  • Turn off all faucets, indoors and outside, and all water-using appliances (washing machine, ice-maker, etc.).
  • Locate the water meter and its main shut-off valve.
  • Ask a helper to turn on a single bathroom sink faucet.
  • Check the meter reading of the smallest dial, it’s usually a red arrow. It should be spinning.
  • Once you locate that dial, ask your helper to turn the faucet off.
  • The little red dial should stop spinning because all water is turned off.
  • If the dial is still spinning, double-check all water is off inside and outside the home. If confirmed, then turn off the water shut-off to the house (usually found where the water main pipe goes into the home, not at the main meter).
Water leak test for inside or outside leak 710
If the spinning dial stops, it means the leak is inside or under the home.

Step one is look for the simplest things first, like checking for running toilets or dripping faucets.

Look for leaks around those toilets and sinks, as well as in the walls and ceilings. Check the floors for warmth or moisture.

IMPORTANT: Obvious leaks may be able to be fixed DIY, but if you don’t see where the leak is coming from or you see signs of water damage, you should turn off the water to the home immediately and call a plumber who specializes in leak detection and working with insurance companies (that’s us!).

You may have a water damage insurance claim that will pay for most of the fixing.

If the spinning dial does not stop after shutting off water to the home, that means the leak is in the yard, underground, usually in the water main line.

Check for soggy areas and puddling.

Check for a broken irrigation sprinkler valve or the main irrigation feed line.

It’s probably best to call a plumber who’s a leak specialist (that’s us!). Call RT Olson Plumbing at FREE water and sewer leak detection for homes and businesses in southwest Riverside County, California, from Corona and Riverside to Murrieta.

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Owner - Operator at RT Olson Plumbing
Bob Olson has over 18 years experience in all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing. He's a 4th generation plumber. With over 500 five-star customer reviews, he runs one of the best-rated plumbing companies in Corona, CA.
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