Water Leaks in Your Home

Water is our most precious resource. Preventing water waste helps to conserve this vital resource while saving money. The main sources of water waste are leaks, indoor overuse, and outdoor over-watering of lawns and gardens.

You may not realize you have a leak until you receive your water bill. Many leaks may go unnoticed but they can be costly. You can print our Leak Detection Guide (PDF, 2 MB).

Using your water meter to discover water leaks

To discover water leaks in your home, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Locate the low flow indicator or sweep hand on the water meter face.
  2. Turn a tap on and run the water slowly. Look at the low flow indicator and observe it rotating. Turn the tap off.
  3. Check around the house to ensure that you are not using water. Turn off all taps, do not use any water and check to ensure outside hoses are turned off.
  4. Go back to the water meter and observe the low flow indicator; it should not be rotating.
  5. If the low flow indicator is not rotating, you do not have a leak.
  6. If the low flow indicator is rotating, you may have a leak.

You may wish to contact a qualified tradesperson to help you find and repair any leaks.

Water Meter illustration identifying low flow indicator, odometer, sweep hand and dial

High volume water leaks often come from toilets. They are hard to detect and are usually caused by worn or misaligned parts.

Follow these steps to check your toilet for leaks:

  1. Put a small amount of food colouring in the toilet tank.
  2. Wait 10 minutes, then check to see if water in the toilet bowl is coloured. If it is, the toilet flapper could be leaking. This is relatively simple and inexpensive to replace.
  3. While the toilet top is removed, look to see if the water level is close to the overflow pipe.  The overflow pipe is a plastic pipe with an open end just below the top of the tank.
  4. If the water level is close, or overflowing into the pipe, this could be where the water is leaking.
  5. If the tank water level is too high, you need to adjust the ball valve which controls the amount of water in your toilet tank.

A leaking faucet can waste from 280 to 750 L of water in a week.

To avoid leaking faucets and pipes, you should:

  • check all faucets and pipes periodically
  • watch for drips
  • replace faulty parts

Electronic leak sensors placed under major household appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, alert you as soon as water starts to collect underneath the appliance.

You can fix most leaks by installing new WaterSense labelled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.

Turn off your water while you are away on vacation

Avoid a high water bill from an unexpected leak by turning off your water before you go away.

Shut off the inside water supply if your house is going to be unoccupied for any length of time, even if it is only for a weekend, except where water is used for heating.

Close the inside building control shut-off valve and open faucets to relieve pressure in the lines. If there is no shut-off valve, close the water supply to toilets, sinks, tubs and washing machines that often have individual shut-off valves.

If your property will be vacant for 90 days or more, call 905-546-4426 within 24 hours of leaving to arrange for the City to turn your water off at the street.

To arrange for account payments while you are away, call Alectra Utilities (formerly Horizon Utilities) Customer Service at 905-522-9200.