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Feel free to send an email or call us at 541-685-7000.

If the idea of a leak in your home or business fills you with apprehension, there is good reason. A leak might be the biggest source of water use in your home or business. Finding and fixing leaks will help you save water and money.

Follow the steps in this self-assessment guide to help you find and fix the cause of a leak or high water usage at your home.

  1. Determining if you have a leak
  2. Finding the leak
  3. Fixing the leak
  4. Financial assistance fixing leaks
  5. Applying for a bill adjustment for a fixed leak

Picture of a woman fixing a leaky pipe under the sink
Do you have a leak?

The first step in your leak journey is going to be determining if you even have one.

We attempt to notify customers when their water usage may indicate the possibility of a potential water leak.

If you have a smart water meter that records 48 hours of continuous water use of 10 gallons per hour or more, we may email or call to bring this to your attention using the contact information associated with the account. Most homes and small businesses will have times in a 48-hour period where the meter records zero usage. Continuous use may indicate a leak in household plumbing or fixture, a faulty sprinkler system or a hose left running.

If you have a legacy meter and a meter reader notes a higher than typical usage for your home or business, they may leave a notice on your door.

Does higher water usage or continuous water consumption mean you definitely have a leak? Not necessarily. Ask yourself the following questions to see if there is a potential explanation:

  • Do you have a constantly running toilet?
  • Was water left running somewhere? Check faucets indoors and out.
  • Did you turn on your sprinkler system? Is it on a timer? Is it running as expected?
  • Any household changes to correspond to the timing of the continuous/high usage, such as filling a pool, house guests or a new lawn?
  • Is the recent higher bill a “true-up” following an estimated read? Review previous bills to check whether they may have been based on estimated meter readings.
  • Is it a seasonal change? Compare current usage with the same month last year.

Find the Leak

If you reflected on your recent water use and can’t find a reasonable explanation for the higher usage, it is time to do some more thorough investigating around your house to isolate where the leak may be located.

  • Do a Meter Test:
     A meter test is a simple way to see if water is flowing in your house when there are no known sources of water on.

     A meter test is a simple way to see if water is flowing in your house when there are no known sources of water on. 

    •  Locate the 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 $140 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 the water meter and write down the numbers. 
    • Wait about a half hour.  
    • Read the water meter again. 
    • If the numbers on the meter have changed, water has passed through the meter and you might have a leak or other unknown use. 

    Check out Regional Water Provier's Consortium video on using the water meter to check for household leaks.

  • Isolate the Leak
     If your meter test revealed that you do have a leak or other unknown use of water, you now need to isolate where the water is coming from so you can stop the flow of water.

     If your meter test revealed that you do have a leak or other unknown use of water, you now need to isolate where the water is coming from so you can stop the flow of water. 

    • Is your toilet running? You may need to replace an old flapper. 
    • 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 test to avoid staining the tank.) 
    • Check sink and tub faucets and showerheads for drips. Worn-out washers can cause slow dripping leaks.
    • Do you notice wet spots, a musty smell or bowed cabinetry under or around sinks?
    • Look and listen for running or dripping water on refrigerators with ice/water dispensers, humidifers, clothes washers, dish washers and water heaters.
    • If you have an accessible crawl space, look under the home for leaks or wet spots from plumbing you can't readily see.

  • Underground sprinkler system leaks
     If you notice a persistent puddle in your yard or around a sprinkler head you may have a leak in your underground sprinkler system.

     If you notice a persistent puddle in your yard or around a sprinkler head you may have a leak in your underground sprinkler system. 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.
    • Do the meter test again.
    • If the numbers on the meter have changed, water has passed through the meter and you have a leak in your underground sprinkler system piping.
    • If the numbers on the meter have not changed, a zone in your underground sprinkler system might be leaky.
    • Run each zone on your system and look for water bubbling up from the ground or spurting from a sprinkler head.
    • Repair any leaks you find.
  • Test for a water service line break
     There are a few visual signs you have a water service line leak - but they can also be hard to identify because the pipe between the water meter and your house is underground.

     There are a few visual signs you have a water service line leak - maybe a puddle that never dries, a darker spot on dry concrete, or a patch of extra lush grash. But they can also be hard to identify 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 the water meter and the house but cannot be used in your home. If you have an underground sprinkler system, close the master valve.
    • Do the meter test again.
    • If the numbers on the 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.
    • EWEB offers up to a $5,000 zero-interest loan for water service line replacement. Learn more.

Still struggling to find the leak? It may be time to call in a professional. Many plumbers can perform leak detection as well as repairs. Alternatively, you can contact a local detection service.

Fixing the Leak

Many household leaks are easy to fix with a few tools and education. If you plan to DIY, here are some "how-to" guides:

If you have an older leaky toilet, it is most likely your home's largest water use. Consider buying a new, performance-tested WaterSense-labled toilet to save water with every flush. Learn more about our residential toilet rebates.

Need a pro? Most plumbers or contractors will give you a free estimate. Don’t necessarily hire the first person you find. Take the time to get more than one bid for repairs.

Financial assistance fixing leaks

We understand that fixing failing plumbing can be a challenge. We may be able to help you with the unexpected expense of a catastrophic leak.

EWEB offers zero-interest loans for service line replacements and grants for income eligible leak repair assistance. Funds are limited, and applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about Loans & Grants for water service line replacement.

Did you fix a leak and need an adjustment on your bill?

Once your leak is repaired, you may qualify for a bill adjustment to your water and/or wastewater charges. Customers who resolve leaks in a timely manner are allowed one (1) leak adjustment on water charges every 3 years. Consider whether the bill increase resulting from your leak is worth using your available adjustment.

  • Leaks must have been repaired within 60 days of receiving your first continuous consumption notice. 
  • Proof of repair is required for consideration to receive a water leak bill adjustment. Examples may include contractor invoice, materials receipts, or photographic evidence.

Apply Online

City of Eugene Wastewater Charges

It’s important to understand how your water usage affects wastewater charges. From May to November wastewater charges are based on the average of your previous winter water usage (December – April). If you have a leak occur in May-November when wastewater charges are based on winter averages, it will not impact your waste water charges, thus you would not qualify for an adjustment.

Contact the City of Eugene Utility Administration at 541-682-4900 or cepwautilityadmin@ci.eugene.or.us.