Leak Checks

The Berkeley Public Works Department provides scheduled leak checks for residents of Berkeley when concerns for high water bills or standing water in the home become an issue. As a first step toward making cost effective decisions, the Public Works Department can often determine the cause of a high water bill, thus eliminating the additional cost of having a plumber come out to locate and correct a small problem that could otherwise be handled by the homeowner. Leak checks from the Public Works Department can be scheduled through the main Village office by dialing 708-449-8840.

However, following a few simple steps detailed here might save the phone call:

By locating the water meter in a home, the resident will find that it measures water usage in two ways at one time. First, the low-flow indicator (the small triangle) spins with the slightest use of water in the home. Here, a resident can detect on their own whether or not a leak is present in their home. If the triangle moves, even slightly, water is moving through the pipes of the home. The Public Works Department recommends looking at this indicator when the resident is certain that no water is being used in the house (i.e. dishwasher, toilets, showers, laundry machines, etc.) As the triangle spins, it turns the larger hand that measures the actual water used in any period of time. While the low-flow indicator can tell a resident that a leak is present, however, it does not indicate through its movement where the leak might be. However, experience has shown that the following areas are a good start for finding the culprit.

It is uncommon that a resident will not notice water dripping from a faucet, pooling under a kitchen sink or on the floor where it should not be (all of which are clear indicators of leaks and unplanned water usage.) For this reason, the Public Works Department suggests that most leak searches begin in the bathrooms with the toilet as the prime suspect.

In an average residence, 22 gallons of water are lost to leakage each day, and the most common culprits are leaking toilets or dripping faucets. This daily leakage volume is about equal to the amount of drinking water a family of three needs for two full weeks! It is not uncommon to find toilets leaking much more water than the average 22 gallons, but silent toilets leaks can account for up to 300 gallons a day of lost water without anyone noticing the leakage. This size of leak can cost over $500 dollars a year if not repaired immediately. 

A quick tip for residents:

To investigate a suspect toilet, drop a dye tablet or 10 drops of food coloring into the toilet supply tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing the toilet, a leak is present and the resident should consider replacing the inner parts of the toilet before the problem worsens. The average hardware supply store has the parts to make the repairs needed to prevent flushing additional dollars down the drain in the future.