Finding a water leak

Water Emergency? Call 530/877-4971

Investigate outdoors

  • Check for leaks at the meter
    • Meters are usually located near the street in front of your home or business and are protected within a green plastic or concrete box with a lid.
    • To open the meter box, use a long screwdriver to remove the lid. Be careful not to disconnect the antenna from the meter inside the box. Be cautious of insects or other small animals that may have taken up residence inside the box.
  • Check the valves at the house. Check for leaking water around exposed pipes and valves that go into your home.
  • Inspect between the house shut-off valve and the water meter. Look for wet spots and small holes or depressions. 
  • Check all hoses and faucets.
  • Check your backflow prevention device (if you have one).
    - occassional dripping or squirting may indicated that backflow prevention has occurred and might not necessarily be a leak.
    - Continuous leaking or a puddling may indicate a leak or a possible failure of the backflow prevention device.

Click here to learn more about your water meter

 Irrigation systems

  • Walk the areas irrigated by your system to inspect the backflow prevention device and irrigation valves. Look for wet spots or small holes or depressions for signs of an underground leak.
  • Turn on your irrigation system and look for leaks that may only occur while the system is running.
  • Check sprinkler heads when they are not running.
    • Look for sprinkler heads that are still seeping or leaking
    • Inspect irrigation emitters looking for cracks
    • Inspect all seals

 Investigate indoors

  •  Toilets are the most common type of indoor leak because they are often silent.
    • Place a few drops of food coloring into the tank
    • Wait 15 minutes (do not use the toilet).
    • If the color appears in the boil, you have a leak.
      • Check that the lift chain is not caught or knotted
      • Ensure the toilet flapper is seating properly. Consider replacing the flapper every 3-5 years.
      • Check to ensure the flush handle functions properly
      • Check that water is just below the overflow tube.
  • Check under and around sinks and tubs for wet spots or a musty smell that could indicate sitting water.
  • Look and listen for dripping or running water for the following appliances
    • Swamp coolers
    • Refrigerators with ice/water
    • humidifiers
    • water softeners
    • dishwashers
    • water heaters
    • clothes washers
    • water purification systems

Isolate to determine leak location

  • Leave the meter valve ON.
  • Find the valve at your house and turn the valve to the off position (Ensure this is a properly functioning valve).
  • Inspect the meter for movement. If the meter is still registering water-use then the leak is between the meter and the shut off valve.
  • If the meter show that water has stopped, then the leak is inside the house or within another part of the property such as a backyard irrigation system.
  • Continue using the isolation method and shut off irrigation systems or appliance supply lines one by one - checking the water meter each time to determine if turning water off to this appliance or system stops the leak.

Save money by promptly fixing leaks

Leaks can be costly! The District's current policy allows for a one-time leak adjustment to customers who promptly repair a leak. 

AquaHawk can tell you if you have a leak

Take the guesswork out of determing if you have a leak. Sign up for AquaHawk and we'll send you a message if you have a leak. Choose between phone call, email or text messages.

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