Be a leak seeker
To fix leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you're wasting water and then identify the source of the leak. Here are some tips for visually inspecting for leaks:
- Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
- Look for dripping sink and bathtub faucets and showerheads. Worn-out washers typically cause faucet and showerhead leaks.
- Check under and around sinks for wet spots, a musty smell or bowed cabinetry.
- Look and listen for running or dripping water on refrigerators with ice/water dispensers, humidifiers, clothes washers, dishwashers, and water heaters.
Some leaks are not so easy to see. Plan to test your water meter on a regular basis to find out if you have a hidden leak.
Do a meter test
- Locate your water meter. It is usually near the street, but if you have trouble finding it, call us during business hours at 541-685-7595. Please be aware that we charge a $75 after-hours call-out fee if you ask us to send a water troubleshooter to your home between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Ask people in your home to wait until after the meter test to flush toilets, wash hands, cook food, run the dishwasher or do laundry. Also, remember to turn off the automatic refill in your refrigerator's ice maker.
- Read your water meter and write down the numbers.
- Read your water meter again.
- If the numbers on your meter have changed, water has passed through the meter and you might have a leak or other unknown use.
Check out Regional Water Provider's Consortium video on using your water meter to check for household leaks.
Water service line leak
It is hard for you to see a leak in your water service line because the pipe between the water meter and your house is underground. Follow these steps to find out if you have a leak in your water service line:
- Close the whole house valve in your home so that water fills the pipe between your water meter and the house but cannot be used in your home. If you have an underground sprinkler system, close the master valve.
- If the numbers on your meter have changed, water has passed through the meter and you have a water service line leak.
- You can patch a leaky service line or replace the entire service line. Replacement is recommended if you have a galvanized pipe service line.
- We offer up to a $5,000 zero-interest loan for water service line replacement. Learn more
Underground sprinkler system leaks
You might wonder if a leak in your underground sprinkler system piping might be causing a persistent puddle in your yard or around a sprinkler head. Follow these steps to check your sprinkler system for leaks:
- Open the master valve on your underground sprinkler system. Close the whole house valve in your home.
- If the numbers on your meter have changed, water has passed through the meter and you have a leak in your underground sprinkler system piping.
- If the numbers on your meter have not changed, a zone in your underground sprinkler system might be leaky.
- Run each zone of your system and look for water bubbling up from the ground or spurting from a sprinkler head.
- Repair any leaks that you find.
Leak repair assistance
We understand that fixing failed plumbing can be a challenge. We might be able to help you with the unexpected expense of fixing a catastrophic leak, but funds are limited. Check to see if funds are still available on our leak repair assistance page.