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Use Your Water Meter to Detect Leaks

Leaks are a common cause of higher-than-expected water bills. Your water meter may be your most useful tool in identifying water leaks on your property.

To check for leaks

  • Locate your water meter. Water meters are usually located in the parking strip or in the sidewalk at the front or side of the house. If you are unable to check your water meter yourself, call SPU Utility Services at (206) 684-5800 for assistance.
  • Locate the shut-off valve for your building. The shut-off valve can be indoors or outdoors. Some buildings may have more than one shut-off valve. If you don’t have a shut-off valve, we advise that you arrange for a plumber to install one.
  • Turn off all water faucets and appliances that use water. Check the position of the “1 cubic foot” dial on your water meter and record your reading.
  • After 30 minutes, record another meter reading.

Compare your readings
Your two readings should be the same because no water should have been used.

  • If the dial has moved, you have a leak.
  • If the needle on the “1 cubic foot” dial is moving, close the building’s shut-off valve. If the dial stops, your leak is inside the building. Check running toilets and faucets.
  • If the dial continues to move when the building’s shut-off valve is closed, you have an underground leak between the water meter and the shut-off valve.