The Alert Labs Flowie water sensor has sent you an alert about a possible leak. It could be caused by a leaky toilet or faucet, water softener, hot water heater, exterior hose, malfunctioning washing machine...
So, how do you find it?
- Ensure there's no water being used in the home
- i.e.turn off all faucets and any appliances that may use your water
- Locate the ‘low flow indicator’ on the face of your water meter
- it's usually a small red or black triangle or dial on the face of the meter
- Check if the indicator is turning, moving, or shaking
- if so, water is still flowing and there is a leak somewhere
Then, start investigating:
Toilets are by far the most common source of home water leakage and can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
- Remove the lid from the toilet tank
- Look and listen for obvious leakage (e.g. water running into overflow)
- If noise is detected but no visible water moving, water is likely leaking through the flapper (located at the bottom of the tank, activated when flushing)
- Use the “dye test” to check for toilet flapper leakage
- remove the toilet tank cover
- drop a leak detector tablet or a few drops of coloured food dye into the tank
- wait approximately 30 minutes, without flushing, then check the water in the toilet bowl.
- If the coloured dye has seeped into the water in the bowl, without having flushed the toilet, there is a leak.
- You can contact a plumber to help resolve your issue or try a fix yourself. In most cases, you will simply just need to replace the toilet flapper and/or filling mechanism.
Flapper Valve Leaks -
The most common reason for a leaking toilet is an improperly working flapper (the rubber valve in the bottom of the tank). If the flapper is worn or cracked, it allows water to continuously flow from the tank into the toilet bowl without flushing.
Issue #5 in this How-to Guide covers "Replacing a Flapper."
Leaky Fill Valves - A leaky toilet fill valve is usually diagnosed by a puddle of water on the floor. The fill valve is connected to the tank by a compression fitting with a rubber seal. Leaks happen when the fitting gets loose or the seal becomes worn or cracked.
Click here for a How-to Guide from HomeDepot.com.
Flush Handle Problems - If the handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet tank. If that does not work, the handle may have to be replaced.
Overflow Tube Leaks - The water level should be even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank (approximately ½" below the overflow tube). If the water is too high spilling into the overflow tube, adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.
Check all water faucets and valves for leaks (inside and outside).
- Check to make sure no faucets have been left running
- Washers or cartridges may need replacing
Leaking faucets are generally a result of a worn rubber washer. The washer on a sink is usually located under the handle.
It’s worth tracking down water leaks and fixing them.
The EPA says that an ongoing dripping faucet can waste 11,000 L of water a year which is the equivalent of over 70 loads of laundry, or 290 five-minute showers.
- Check settings to see how many times a week the softener is regenerating and whether it is running efficiently.
- Put the water softener on bypass and see if your water meter stops running.
Backed Up Drain Line
- Make sure that the drain line is sloped, without dips or hills.
- If it doesn't run on a downward slope, it can form air bubbles that may cause a backup that seeps out of the humidifier.
Clogged Humidifier Filter
- Filters may become clogged with mineral deposits, scale and other debris that can block the drain opening and create a leak. A clogged humidifier filter could then cause the scale control insert to fill with residue and block the drain opening, which leads to a leaky humidifier.
- To avoid this, change your furnace filter:
- Turn off your furnace to avoid releasing the dust from your filter into your furnace system.
- Locate the filter air box, usually next to the furnace motor. Look for a small wide hinged door, or a open slit that a 1″ filter could slide into. Open the panel and remove the old filter.
- Insert the new filter into the filter box. The arrows printed along side the filter’s frame should always point towards the furnace.
- The solenoid valve allows water to enter the humidifier and should be checked for a leak.
- Make sure that you have the water flow set in the proper direction, following with the directional arrow printed on the valve.
- If the line is has debris or residue, it may prop open the valve, over-saturating the filter and causing a leak.
- Shut the water off at the saddle valve and disconnect any power going to the unit.
- Remove the solenoid and backwash with water under a light pressure.
- Be sure the water flow through the solenoid valve is going in the direction of the arrow on the valve body.
- If debris lodges between the valve plunger and seat on the solenoid, then the valve is unable to completely close and causes a leak.
- Shut off the water supply at the saddle valve.
- Disconnect electrical power and remove the solenoid valve.
- Gently flush the valve with water or try to blow out the blockage.
- If the valve or its seat is not fixed by flushing it with water, you'll need to replace them.
- Make sure the water pressure is less than 125 psi.
The best way to prevent these problems is by scheduling regular preventative maintenance with a local HVAC technician.
- Near the hot water heater.
- A malfunctioning washing machine or dishwasher.
- Look for wet, warped or discoloration stains on your ceilings, floors, walls, and cabinets, which may indicate the presence of wastewater. Wastewater is usually moved by gravity and is not under pressure, which makes it much harder to detect. If you suspect a wastewater leak, we recommend calling a professional for help.
- Check whether the sprinkler system is malfunctioning or if your hose is leaking.
- Look and feel for portions of your property that are always wet.
- Look at your driveway, curb, or street for evidence of water flow. Depending on the size of the leak, you may be looking for a stream of water, a puddle that never dries up, or a just a dark spot.