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Plumbing Problems

Did you know that the water meter can help you detect if you have a plumbing problem? It’s true. If you have a meter which measures water flow in cubic metres, check to see if there is a small red dial on the face of the meter (diamond shaped). This is a very sensitive dial, which will rotate once for every 1/58 gallon of water used. If this dial is moving when you are not using water, chances are that you have a plumbing problem. This could be costly!

The Major culprit is?

A faulty toilet is one of the most common sources of undetected leaks. Toilet related plumbing problems have caused water and sanitary sewer bills in excess of $1,000. Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the flapper valve inside the tank. The following paragraphs provide some ways that will help you determine if you have a toilet leak.

Diagram of toilet

Overflow Pipe

Remove the lid of the toilet tank. If the water level inside the tank is too high, water could be running down the overflow pipe. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring that the water level is at least 1 cm below the top of the overflow pipe.

Flapper Tests

  • Add food colouring to the toilet tank. Do not flush the toilet. If, after 15 minutes, the colouring appears in the toilet bowl, this indicates that there is a leak from the tank. If no colouring appears in the bowl, remember to check the tank to ensure that the food colouring did not completely drain from the bowl and into the sewer system.
  • If you do not have food colouring, close the shut off valve to the toilet. Mark the water level inside the tank. Do not flush the toilet for a couple of hours. If the level of the water has dropped, this indicates that there is a leak from the tank.
  • Shining a flashlight on the inside wall of the toilet bowl helps you to see if water is running from the tank to the bowl.

Decorative toilet tank covers may prevent the handle of the toilet from returning, causing water to run continuously.

That "hissing" sound you hear may be water running from the tank of the toilet to the bowl. Keep in mind, however, that you may not hear a water leak!

The toilet is not supposed to continue to ‘run’ after the flushing cycle is completed and the tank has refilled.

Watch Out For...

water leaking from tap
  • Leaky taps — be sure to replace worn washers
  • Outside taps — turn them off completely after use and if you are going to be away for an extended period of time, turn off the taps from inside your home
  • Underground leaks in lawn sprinkler system