Leak Detection


A leak can waste large amounts of water; up to 20 gallons a day for slow drips and hundreds of gallons a day for both toilet and faucet leaks. Some leaks are easily detected while others are not so obvious. Any leak, big or small, can be very costly and wasteful and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Our water meters are equipped to assist you in leak detection. Turn off all faucets, water-demanding appliances, and outdoor hoses, etc. Be sure no one is using any water. The water meters feature a “leak detector”. To check if the meter detects a leak, shine a light on the top of the meter next to the flashlight icon to activate the display. After a startup sequence, the screen will cycle between the current reading and the current flow rate. As shown in the photo below, the word RATE appears with 3 digits below it. These digits represent the current rate in gallons per minute of water going through the meter. If the leak has been ongoing, the meter will also display a small faucet icon.

If the meter indicates that you have a leak, inspect all fixtures, appliances, and pipes to locate it, keeping in mind that there may be more than one source of leakage. Sometimes a leak may be hidden in the underground piping. If you believe this to be the case, call a plumber for advice. The meter can also provide further assistance in understanding your consumption. By request, Ridgewood Water will download a detailed log of your consumption for the past 96 days. Ridgewood Water needs physical access to the meter to perform this service. Please call our Customer Service department to schedule an appointment.

Common Leaks

- Most leaks occur at the overflow pipe in the toilet tank. The water level is probably too high. Gently bend the float arm down so the valve shuts off the water about a half inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If the valve is worn it may need to be replaced. You may need to call a plumber for help.

- Some leaks occur at the plunger ball or flapper in the toilet tank, which allows water to seep into the bowl and down the drain unnoticed. Drop some food coloring into the tank of clear water and wait to see if it shows up in the bowl. If it does, you most likely have a leak at the plunger ball or flapper. The mechanism may either be out of alignment or may need to be replaced.

- Faucets will also leak and are most commonly caused by worn washers. Faucets should be checked once or twice per year. Turn off the faucet. If the faucet continues to drip, turn off the supply line to fix it. Take the faucet apart and replace the washer. The washer size is important. It needs to fit inside the cup-shaped valve stem and spread out to the edges when it’s screwed down. Many newer faucet designs use cartridges and/or O-rings instead of washers and may present a bigger challenge to the do-it-yourselfer; you may need to seek help from a plumber especially if the faucet is a single lever or joystick-type control.

Shutoff Valves/Emergencies

Water heaters and pipes have been known to break. Faucets sometimes run like fountains. When these things occur you should be able to turn them off at their designated locations. Most sinks and toilets have shutoff valves below them that cut water off at that particular fixture. The hot-water heater also has a shutoff valve. It is not uncommon that bathtubs and showers don’t have shutoff valves since the plumbing is usually behind the wall. You should become familiar with the shutoff valves and check to see if they work properly, this includes the main shutoff valve for the entire house. The main shutoff valve is normally located where the water pipe enters the house. If any of these are faulty you should contact a plumber.