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How to check for a leak at home

If you think you have a leak, there are a few ways you can test your supply to check before you get a plumber in to fix it.

Water is a precious resource which is why it’s important we don’t let it go to waste.

Spotting leaks at home can be a challenge as they are often hidden. In most cases an increase in your bill may be the first sign that there might be an issue.

Leaks don’t just have an impact on your pocket, they can cause damage to your appliances or even your home itself.

Here’s a few ways you can test your supply to check for leaks before you get a plumber in to fix it. 


Checking for a toilet leak

Around 1 in 10 properties have a constantly running toilet and they’re not always easy to spot. A leaking toilet can waste an average of 400 litres of water a day which works out at approximately £300 per year. 


The reason for this is modern toilet systems tend to overflow into the bowl rather than through an external overflow pipe making them harder to find.

Leak detection tablets provide a simple way to check if a toilet has a leak. You can do a water use quiz and order free leak detection tablets through GetWaterFit.

You can also check for a leaky loo by following the below simple steps:

  1. Around 30 minutes after the last flush, wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet paper
  2. Next, place a new, dry sheet of toilet paper across the back of the pan
  3. Leave it there for up to three hours without using the toilet, or even better overnight
  4. If the paper is wet or torn after this time – you have a leaky loo

If you have a leaking toilet, it is often just a valve or a seal that may need replacing. If you do not feel comfortable replacing this yourself, we have a list of approved plumbers.

Other common leaks

Dripping taps

A dripping tap can waste up to 5,000 litres a year – the same as 63 baths. A leaking tap commonly just needs a washer replacing.


Household appliances

Appliances that have not been plumbed in correctly can often leak. Check for any signs of leakage behind your washing machine or dishwasher.

Sometimes appliances will only leak when they are in use. This is normally the case for boilers which can sometimes lose water when the heating is switched on causing intermittent leaks.


Overflow from a water tank or cistern in the loft

Check if you can see water dripping or running out of an external overflow pipe. These signs may mean you have a leak.


Checking for leaks outside of your property

If you have a leak outside of your property, there are a few early signs that might help you find and fix the leak before it becomes a bigger problem.

Signs that indicate a leak:

  • A wet patch in your grass or paving
  • An area of grass growing much quicker than that around it
  • Sunken patches or slabs of paving
  • A change in water pressure


How to check for leaks with your water meter

If you have a water meter then you can use it to check for leaks. If you are unsure how to read your water meter, we have a handy guide  how to do so. 

How to check for a leak if you don’t have a water meter

If you're not on a meter, and you think your water isn’t flowing as it should, you can carry out a quick test to check your water pressure.

If your water is flowing properly, it should fill a litre container in about 7 seconds. If it takes much longer than this, there may be a problem with your water pressure.

Check for known problems in your area before you contact us as it may already have been reported.

You can report a problem to us online, by talking to our customer care team on webchat or by calling us on 0800 783 4444.

If you have visible water or damp, we would advise you to find an approved plumber near you who can investigate the cause.


How to report a leak

How you report a leak depends on who is responsible for the maintenance of pipes and drains in that part of the network.

When your leak has been fixed

Great news! Now that your leak has been fixed, you may be eligible for a leakage allowance.