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Story / Leaks & Breaks 23 May 2016

Handy tips for finding and fixing leaks in your home

This week marks Waterwise Week - a time to check whether you have any water leaks in your pipes and taps, but more importantly a time to fix them so that you save valuable water and save money.

Sydney Water studies show that at any one time 15% of their customers have a water leak in their home that is wasting water and costing them money.

Charles Agnew, Program Leader at Sydney Water said “you can lose a few litres of water an hour from a slow dripping tap and thousands of litres a day from a constantly running toilet. If the leak is from a hot water pipe it will also cost you money in energy costs. So that means it’s important to find the leak fast and repair it straight away.

“We estimate that enough water to fill eleven Olympic swimming pools is lost through household water leaks each day.

“You don’t have to be very handy around the house to check if you have any water leaks and it is pretty straight forward to change a leaking tap washer, though some other problems may need you to get the professional help of a plumber”, said Mr Agnew.

Leaks in taps, toilets and pipe fittings normally can be seen or heard easily or you can place a few sheets of dry toilet paper at the back of the toilet bowl above the water line and if the paper gets wet, that’s an indicator that your toilet cistern is leaking.

Concealed leaks are also simple to determine:

  • Switch off all of your taps and water-using appliances in your home.

  • Check the reading on your water meter and write down the numbers. Your meter is usually found at the front of your property.

  • Make sure you don’t use any water for the next 30-60 minutes.

  • Then check the water meter reading again.

  • If the meter numbers have rolled through to a higher amount, that’s a pretty sure indication that you have a water leak in your house. The greater the change, the bigger the leak!

If you do have a leaking tap, it is simple to fix. Sydney Water has an easy to follow instructional video on replacing a tap washer at

If you have an in–ground irrigation system, check it each spring to make sure it wasn’t damaged over winter.

Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the tap. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the tap using pipe tape and a spanner.

For more complicated water leaks in showers, toilets or if you can’t find the leak, contact a licensed plumber or Sydney Water’s WaterFix service.

“If you have a water leak and can’t afford to hire a plumber or if you are having trouble paying your water bills contact Sydney Water at 13 20 92 and we can tailor a solution to suit your needs”, said Mr Agnew.

If you need a plumber go to Sydney Water’s Waterfix at