Detecting Water Leaks

Even with a small leak, water consumption adds up quickly. It seems amazing that a half-gallon per minute leak will add up to 21,600 gallons of water in a 30-day time period. Drippy faucets should be fixed as soon as they start. These leaks will never get better on their own, waste water, and cost the property owner a lot of money.

How To Detect Water Leaks

Sign up to receive leak alerts through WaterSmart. 
WaterSmart is a free water management tool and online payment portal for City of Dubuque water customers. 

Look at the water usage on your utility bill. 
Compare your current usage to the same months of previous years. Unusually high water usage may indicate a leak. 

Check your water meter. 
Your water meter has a digital display and can be read manually. Simply shine a light on the meter to activate the LCD display. It will show a meter reading and then, after six seconds, it will show the rate of flow. A flashing faucet icon on the display represents an intermittent leak.  A constant faucet icon represents a constant leak. If the water meter indicates you have a leak, call Water Distribution Services at 563.589.4304. We will be glad to assist you in finding the leak.

Check faucets, showerheads, and outside hose bibs.
A dripping faucet, showerhead or hose bib can waste 20 gallons or more of water a day. Fixing a leaky faucet may be as simple as replacing worn washers and gaskets. If your showerhead is leaking, it may be time to replace it.

Check for a toilet leak. 
A toilet that continues to run after being flushed can waste up to 200 gallons a day. You will be able to hear or see some toilet leaks, but some leaks are less obvious. 

Tips for detecting a toilet leak:

  • Listen - You may be able to hear the water moving through the valve assembly inside the tank.
  • Feel - Put your hand on the side of the tank. If the tank is cold or sweating and you haven’t flushed it for a while, you may have a leak.
  • Check the Water Level - Take the tank cover off and check the water level of the tank. It should be set so it is below the over flow level.
  • Leak Detector Tablet or Food Coloring - Put leak detector tablets or a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Wait 15 minutes and then check the bowl. If the toilet water turns blue, the seal around the flapper is leaking water from the tank into the bowl and needs to be replaced.