Leaks can be sneaky and not all of them are easy to spot or hear. In fact, the biggest water guzzling leaks are those that go unnoticed because they’re hidden in walls or even underground. We chatted to Trent, a local Waterwise Plumber from Osborne Park who has given us some tips on how to find and fix a leak.

The leaky details

While leaks can be elusive, there are a few traits that could make your home more likely to have a leak. Trent tells us that older houses tend to be more susceptible to leaks due to ageing plumbing, worn fittings and gnarly old tree roots finding their way into underground pipes. Therefore, it pays to regularly check for leaks even if you can’t visibly spot one.

You might be wondering exactly how much water a leak can waste. Ignoring a trickling toilet for a year could waste up to 9,000 litres, which is the equivalent of 155 bathtubs of water! Hidden leaks can waste even more due to going unnoticed for longer periods of time, and often take an unusually high bill to trigger an investigation. Trent recently helped a customer who had a cracked underground outdoor pipe which was hard to spot due to wet weather; it wasn’t until the customer received their water bill which was $250 higher than normal that they realised they might have a leak.

Expert tips for finding and fixing leaks

Leaky leads

Leaks can pop up in many areas inside and outside the home – toilets, showers, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, outdoor taps and irrigation systems to name a few.  Luckily, Trent was able to point out five key areas that are worth investigating first:

  1. Leaking toilet cisterns (dripping from the cistern into the bowl).
  2. Irrigation systems (particularly leaking solenoid valves, which control the flow of water out of sprinkler heads).
  3. Dripping taps inside, and outdoor hose taps.
  4. Evaporative air conditioners, both inside and outside of the unit.
  5. Hot water systems (usually leaking relief valves, which control the flow of water in the system).

Don’t forget to look for the tell-tale signs of hidden leaks, such as dampness or mouldy patches on walls, uneven or sunken paving, and green over-grown patches of lawn.

Things to know before contacting a plumber

If you suspect you have a leak, the first thing to consider is which side of your water meter the leak is on as this determines who is responsible for repairing the leak. If the leak is on the ‘house side’ of the meter, it is the home-owners responsibility and you should contact a licensed plumber. If the leak appears to be on the ‘road side’ of the meter, it will be fixed by Water Corporation - let us know about it by calling us on 13 13 75 as soon as possible. For more information on determining who is responsible for repairing the leak Trent suggests following this simple step by step guide

The other important thing to know is whether you are eligible for a $100 rebate through our Leak Assist program. You will need your plumber to take the following steps so you can apply for the rebate:

  • Write down your meter number
  • Take a meter reading after finalising the repairs
  • Write down the details of what was leaking
  • Provide a description of the repairs
  • If it is an irrigation leak, ask if your system has a manual isolation valve or master solenoid (which you will need to be eligible for the rebate).

Learn more about Leak Assist

Tips for finding and fixing leaks

If you can hear a drip or see a trickle, the best thing to do is contact your local Waterwise Plumber to get it fixed as soon as possible.

If you’ve checked the hotspots and haven’t found any evidence of a leak, Trent recommends doing our online leak detection test, which can pick up any hidden leaks in just 15 minutes. The test will also calculate how much water your leak is wasting, plus any bearing it might be having on your water bill so you can be fully informed before engaging a plumber.

Trent say’s it is important to remember that all plumbing work carried out in WA must be completed by a licensed plumber. Rest assured; we have an online directory of qualified plumbers who are also waterwise endorsed.