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Finding and Repairing Water Leaks

  • What can I do to check for a water leak?
  • How do I use my water meter to check for a leak?
  • Will Sydney Water repair my leak for free?
  • Can I get a rebate for the excess water usage?
  • What can Good Neighbour Plumbing do to help?

If you think you might have a water leak, don’t panic!  First, water is cheap.  You pay less than 3 cents for 10 litres of water and most water leaks look a lot bigger than they actually are.  Second, if you do get a huge water bill, we provide you with a plumber’s statement that will allow you to claim back part of the high water bill from Sydney Water.

Now that the pressure is off, before calling us, you will want to try to confirm if you have a hidden leak or if a plumbing fixture might be leaking in the house.

First, make sure the dishwasher or washing machine is not running, then check all taps to make sure they are not leaking.  Next, check the toilets to see if any water is flowing from the cistern into the pan.  This is sometimes hard to see, but you can tell by placing a bit of toilet paper on the back inside wall of the pan.  Even a small amount of water will show up on the paper.  If any tap or toilet is leaking, you need to get it serviced.

Once you have checked the toilets, turn off the water supply to the toilets (usually located at the little mini tap located on the wall beneath the cistern).  This will isolate the toilet even if there is a small leak running into the cistern.

Now check under all vanities and benchtops where there are plumbing fixtures for signs of water or dampness.  Check the walls that are opposite a plumbing fixture.  For example, you might have a bedroom or closet wall that backs onto the shower in the next room.  Are any of these areas or walls damp or mouldy?  If so, put your ear to the wall if possible and listen for a hissing or dripping sound.

Once you have checked everything inside, it is time to head out and expand your investigation.  Is your house on a slab?  If so, walk around the house and look for any signs of water or dampness around the edge of the slab.  Also look for any signs of dampness on the walls near where you know plumbing fixtures for the kitchen, laundry or bathrooms are located.

If you have a crawl space under your house and you can get under there comfortably, inspect all visible pipework for signs of dampness and look for any puddles or wet patches that may have formed.

Is there any dampness or puddling around the base of your garden taps?  If so, carefully scratch around with a shovel to see if you can see water bubbling up or see the leaking pipe.  If you don’t see anything around the garden taps, put your ear to the tap and listen for water moving in the pipes.  Are there areas of grass that are greener than surrounding areas?

Finally, check the hot water unit.  Is the valve on the side of the tank constantly leaking water?  If so, the relief valve may have failed or the tank may be failing.

Once you have completed these visual checks, and confirmed that all is OK, you can then check the water meter to see if it is moving. You will have one of the three types of meters shown below.  Each can be checked to see if you have even a very slight leak in your water system.

The meters on the left and right have dials called “tell-tales”. The tell-tale for the meter on the left is the spinner with the black bars.  The tell-tale for the meter on the right is the single dial on the righthand side of the meter.  Both of these measure very minute movements of water.  The meter in the middle does not have a tell-tale.  It uses the far right red counter to detect leaks.  This counter measures the consumption of water in tenths of a litre.

If you see any of these tell-tales or counters moving when you have confirmed that no fixtures are leaking, and you have completed all other checks, you most likely have a concealed leak.  If the leak appears to be large, you can turn off the supply of water to your house using the tap adjacent to the water meter.

You are responsible for fixing all the water pipes and fittings on your property that connect to the Sydney Water main. However, in some instances, Sydney Water will repair water services between the water main and the water meter up to one metre inside your property boundary as a free service. They are also responsible for fixing the water meter itself.

If you think your leak may be in this area, or is on the water meter, it is a good idea to call Sydney Water first and they can advise if you need to call a plumber to undertake a further investigation and repair.

If you are sure you have a water leak, please give us a call on 9651 4884 and we can provide further investigative services like pressure testing and pipe locating to pinpoint the leak location.  We can then provide you with a firm quote to get the leak repaired or provide a diversion around the leak regardless of size or location.  Once the works are complete, we provide you with the plumber’s statement so you can get a rebate for the water that was lost.