How to identify a slow leak in your plumbing

While they are not often big jobs, slow leaks are a problem which can cost you a pretty penny in your next rates notice, or could be slowly causing damage to your home.

Alarmingly, leaking taps or pipework could also be affecting your health. Leaks can cause mould, mildew and material damage. Inhaling mould fragments or spores can lead to respiratory problems and prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function, causing chronic health problems such as asthma.

If you suspect you may have a hidden leak in your home, follow these steps to determine the problem area. 


How to check for a leak 


The first course of action is to turn off all taps and water outlets and take a reading of your water meter. Wait at least 15 minutes and up to an hour and check the meter again. If the numbers have changed, you may have a leak.  

You can also use this online tool to help.


Check toilet cistern


Leaking toilets can be difficult to detect, because they are silent. The main culprit for a leaking toilet is an ineffective flush valve system, when the watertight seal at the bottom of the tank – the flapper – has begun to deteriorate. This will allow water to leak into the toilet bowl. 

A faulty fill valve can also result in a leaking toilet tank. This will lead to a continuous flow of water which will then breach the overflow tube. This problem will arise when the shut-off valve does not close completely or the float is too high. 

You can check for a fill valve leak by checking inside the overflow tube for water. As for a flush valve leak, add a dye tablet or 10 drops of food colouring to the tank. After waiting for 10 minutes, check the bowl for colour. If it is present, your toilet is leaking. Simply flush the toilet to remove the colour and contact your Gold Coast plumber for assistance.


Leaking faucets


Aside from the irritation of listening to the constant dripping of a leaking tap, this common plumbing issue could indicate a bigger problem. While it may seem like only a small amount of wastage, a leaking tap can waste up to 10,000 litres of water a year. 

If the tap drips when it is turned off, it means the washer requires replacement. With each use, the tap washer is forced against the valve seat, so the constant friction causes it to wear out. 

It is also important to check your outside taps and hoses, where leaks are more likely to go unnoticed. If you need help fixing a leaky tap, our qualified team is always happy to help. 


Underground leaks


These can be tricky to uncover, as the water pipes connecting your property to the city water main run underneath your foundation. These pipes may erode or deteriorate over time, with cracks or holes allowing water to escape into the soil, the slab or flood your home, potentially leading to structural damage. 

As well as checking the water meter, you can walk around your property and listen for the sound of running water, puddles or wet spots and check your bills for a sudden spike in usage. 

Inside your home, look for water stains, bubbling paint, condensation, moisture or dampness on walls, which could have also caused mould or mildew to appear. 

If you have noticed a drop in water pressure, this could also be a sign indicating a burst pipe somewhere in the system. If your hot water is running out quicker than usual, but your hot water system is functioning correctly, this could also be the trigger to call in a professional.  


Water meter


Every time you mow your lawn, lift the lid of your water meter and check inside. If it’s muddy or full of water, you have a problem. This is often the fault of loose connections just after the meter, which is the homeowners responsibility to fix. The council is only liable to undertake plumbing work for issues which occur before the meter. 

If you are unsure of where your water meter is, book an appointment with one of our friendly plumbers who can find it for you. 

Water Meter


Call in the experts at Fosters Plumbing


Using specialised leak detection equipment, the Fosters Plumbing team can quickly pinpoint the exact location of leaks. 

Our Gold Coast plumbers will ascertain the cause and advise whether it is repairable, or if a replacement is required. 

At Fosters Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest, reliable and efficient, with our expert team always offering the most cost-effective solution.

If you have discovered a leak, contact us now on 0415 169 603 for an obligation free quote.

Our experienced team can also help with a range of plumbing works, whether you need help to replace a toilet, have issues with blocked drains, require gas fitting services or repairs on your hot water supply.