Modern Australian

How to Find Water Leaks

  • Written by Samantha Ball

Have you noticed damp patches around your home, or is your water bill suddenly much higher than expected? A water leak could be to blame. Here's how to find those pesky leaks around your home and how to fix them.

How to Find Water Leaks

Water leaks are a really common household problem. But although it's easier to confirm you have a leak by checking the water meter, you can still find many leaks without relying on the meter numbers. 

Often, leaks come from:

  • Taps around the house

  • Pipes around sinks

  • Toilet cisterns and waste pipes

  • Showers

  • Baths

  • Heating pipes

So, even if you don't have a water meter, bathrooms, kitchens, and loft spaces are good places to start your inspection. 

Without a Water Meter

  • First, look for obvious signs of leakage. This could be damp patches, wet spots, mould, or visible drips. 

  • Next, check for foul smells, damaged caulking, and loose floor tiles. These are all signs of possible leaks. 

  • If you've narrowed down the location, see if you can inspect the pipes, drains, and valves around the area. If they're inaccessible, call a plumber.

Using Your Water Meter

Got a water meter? It's much easier to detect underground or other awkward leaks this way. 

  • Turn off your taps and check the reading on your water meter.

  • Wait at least 10-15 minutes.

  • Check if the meter reading changes. If it does, there's a leak. Big changes mean bigger leaks.  

How to Fix a Leak

So you've detected a water leak. How do you fix it? It depends on whether it's a very minor leak or something more complicated.

Minor Water Leaks

If you notice a leaking faucet or a small leak from your toilet, you may be able to fix this on your own. 

Dripping Taps

Broken washers are usually behind leaking taps. So, turn off the water at the mains and close off the dripping tap. Take off the tap handle, flange, and spindle, and replace the washer. If this doesn't fix the problem, contact a plumber.

Got a leaking tap? Don't ignore it – you're potentially wasting around 2 litres of water every hour!

Toilet Leak

Sometimes all you need to do is change a valve, like the flapper valve, to fix leaks coming from the tank. You can find these valves in hardware stores, but remember – you need to turn off every toilet around your home before changing a valve. 

Other Water Leaks

Although you can fix some water leaks yourself, some leaks will require a licenced plumber to clear. Call a plumber if you have:

  • Leaking pipes

  • A sewage system leak 

  • Leaks from the heating system

  • Multiple leaks 

  • Any leak at all if you're unsure where it's coming from or how to fix it


Identifying a water leak is, thankfully, less complicated than it sounds. But remember, it's always best to contact a plumber if you're at all concerned about water leaks in or around your home. And, unless it's a very minor leak, you shouldn't attempt a leak repair yourself. 

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