Water leaks are often only noticed when the consumer receives either an extraordinary high water bill or, in exceptional cases, a phone call from the local council notifying of the high usage. Some water leaks, however, are extremely noticeable and require immediate attention.

The main causes of water leaks are:

  • Accidental damage to underground pipework, for example, during concrete cutting or jackhammering.
  • Corrosion or movement over time to underground pipework.
  • Flexible braided hoses bursting, literally flooding a home.
  • Slow leaking fittings, cisterns or taps.

What to Do When a Leak Occur

In acute situations, such as burst pipework or hoses, locate your property's water meter (usually located at the boundary) and turn the entire water supply off to the property. Alternatively, if you have identified the source of the leak as coming from a flexible hose, usually attached to mixers, you may be able to simply turn the isolation tap off at that point, if one has been installed.

If you reside in a unit complex, each unit should have its own isolation water point which can therefore allow water to be turned off to an individual unit without affecting the rest of the complex. Immediately call a licensed plumber (or your real estate agent).

In other situations,such as slow leaks generally unnoticeable until a water bill arrives, there are a number of things you can do to help detect the location of the leak.

  • Check taps and toilets are not leaking.
  • Check your water meter usage:
  • Turn off all taps inside the home, including washing machine, dishwasher, and toilet cistern
  • Check the water meter and write down the dial reading
  • After one hour check the water meter reading again and write it down
  • Turn back on as applicable washing machine, dishwasher and toilet cistern taps.

If the water meter reading has changed after one hour then in all likelihood a concealed water leak is present and you should contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

If the meter reading hasn't changed after one hour it is advisable to monitor your usage, check back through previous accounts to see if a price rise accounts for the difference, or think carefully about events that might have attributed to the increase usage, for example, guests or the filling of spas/pools.

How to Prevent a Recurrence

  • Contact your plumber to attend to leaking taps and toilets when they are first noticed.
  • Make a note of where known pipes run underground to avoid accidental damage.