I received an unusually high water bill and when i called the city they said there was a leak. Unfortunately i dont know where to find this leak or how to fix it and would really appreciate the help.
- Find your water meter. It might be in the basement, on an exterior wall, or in some kind of underground enclosure outdoors. Figure out how to open the enclosure, if any.
- Turn on a faucet.
- Look at the meter. It'll have some kind of flow indicator on its face. The analog one pictured here has a sprocket in the center that spins when water flows. The digital meter has a series of bars that chase across its face. Yours will have something similar.
- Walk through the house and yard confirming that all known water is turned off.
- Return to the meter. Does it still indicate a flow?
If the meter does show there's flow when you expected none, then yes you get to play detective and search for a leak. Try closing the shutoff valve at toilets, evaporative cooler, yard irrigation, etc. Return to check the meter and find out whether you've stopped the flow.
Agree that toilets are the usual culprits. Brew some coffee. Pour about a cup of the black coffee into the tank of each toilet in your home. Wait an hour or so. If the water in the bowl has become yellow, you know the tank is leaking water into the bowl and it is refilled by the fill valve. Replacing the flapper and making sure the seat it seals on is clean usually fixes the problem. I had a neighbor that had 1 leaky toilet in a pool bath. The water bill was over $500 that month. Good Luck
Looking for toilet leaks:
Wipe a bit of toilet paper around the inside of the toilet bowl. If no-one used it in a while, the porcelain should be dry. If the tank/valve is leaking there will be a thin stream of water, which is difficult to see, but it will leave a noticeable wet spot on the toilet paper.
The other spot that can leak a lot of water without making a puddle is the water heater overpressure safety valve, which should normally have a drain. When it is broken and leaks, water goes into this drain.