John Baethke & Son Plumbing
John Baethke & Son Plumbing
3511 N Cicero Ave
ChicagoIL 60641
 (773) 276-5430

Simple Methods to Detect Pipe Leaks at Home

Simple Methods to Detect Pipe Leaks at Home

Is your water bill going through the roof? Leaking fixtures, pipes and fittings can be costly to leave unchecked. The average home loses as much as 20,000 gallons of water annually from leaking. These tips will teach you how to identify costly common pipe leaks.

Meter Reading Detection

A single large leak, or multiple smaller leaks, can often be detected by monitoring water meter readings. To do this, begin by turning off all sources of water inside and outside of your home and checking the meter reading. After 15 minutes, check the reading again. If the reading has changed and nothing has made use of water during that time (including things like irrigation, water filters, humidifiers and other small appliances), then you have a major leak. This method does not reveal small leaks, nor will it tell you what is leaking, but it will inform you of the severity of the issue.

Underground Pipe Leaks

Are you worried the leak is in the underground water pipes that lead to your home? There are some tell-tale signs that point toward this kind of leak, including a noticeable drop in your water pressure, dirt or rusty water, or finding an area of your yard that's moldy and soft but surrounded by drier conditions. Another sign of leaking with your underground lines is consistently wet ground near areas where the supply line emerges from the ground and into your home. 

A sign that your underground pipes are leaking is consistently wet ground near areas where the supply line emerges from the ground and enters your home.

Other Leak-Prone Areas


Detection is usually simple. Just look for signs of water (including hard water staining) while the faucet is not in use.


Research suggests that as much as 35 percent of all residential toilets leak. Large leaks often have a hissing or gurgling noise, but smaller leaks can be silent and hard-to-see. An easy way to find out if your toilet is leaking is to use the so-called "dye test." Start by turning off all water fixtures, then place a few drops of red food dye in all of your toilet tanks. Wait at least an hour before checking your toilet. If you notice that the water in any of the toilet bowls is red, you've got a leak. Another way to check for leaks is to look inside the tank at the water level. If it's at the top of the overflow tube, then water is draining through it and leaking. 

Whole House Humidifiers and Evaporative Coolers 

These can have leaks that go undetected for a long while, as they tend to operate primarily out of sight. To check for leaks, turn off the equipment and do a visual inspection.

Pools and Fountains

A bucket check will help you detect these leaks. Fill a bucket with water, set it on the top step of your pool and mark the level with tape or a marker. After 24 hours, check for movement. 

Getting Help

Some leaks are easy to tackle on your own, but others, particularly underground pipe leaks, require help. Whether it's a burst pipe requiring the help of an emergency plumber or a slow leak deep underground costing you cash every month, call John Baethke & Son Plumbing any time, day or night, for stellar service

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