Leak detection

Leaking water pipes can occur almost anywhere - from within the newest homes, to the smallest gardens and the tallest buildings.

Sometimes it's easy to spot a leaking tap or fixture, but leaks are not always easy to see. You may have a leak if:

  • your water bill has suddenly increased and you haven't changed your behaviour or the number of people in your home
  • you notice wet patches on your lawn or damp walls in your house.   
Woman with bucket under kitchen sink.

Don't wait until those small leaks become larger problems. Read the information below to see how you can find and fix leaks.

Checking for leaks at your property

Leaks icon reversed You're responsible for fixing all the pipes and fittings on your property that connect to our water network. We'll look after the water pipes up to one metre inside your property and also the water meter.

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 or a pumped water supply, you're also wasting energy. That makes fast detection and repair even more important.
 

While an increase in your bill could be a sign you have a leak, there's no need to wait until then.



Simple ways to look for leaks

  • Check your hot water system's expansion valves when you haven't used any hot water for a while. The valve shouldn't be constantly leaking water.
  • Check your taps and toilets regularly for signs or sounds of leaks.
  • Disconnect hoses or irrigation pipes that are always connected to garden taps. Then check the taps aren't leaking. 
  • Place a small piece of dry toilet paper at the back of the toilet bowl and check that it stays dry until the next flush. Toilet cisterns shouldn't release any water between flushes.
  • Look for green patches of grass that are different from the grass around it. This can mean you have an underground pipe leak.

If you suspect you have a large leak, you'll probably need help from a plumber with specialist equipment.

It's quick and simple to test for leaks if you have your own meter. This simple test will only take a few minutes.

Take the test

For this test to work, it's important not to intentionally use any water at your property. 

  1. Turn off all taps and anything that uses water.
  2. Locate your water meter. It's usually at the front of your property.
  3. Write down the numbers on the water meter dials. Some meters even have a dial to show you when you have a leak. Wait for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Check if the last numbers on the dial have changed. If they have, you've got a leak. The greater the change, the bigger the leak! 

Find out how to read your meter

Watch the video below from our partners at Smart Approved Watermark to learn how to read different types of water meters or read more about how to do your own meter readings.

Call a plumber

If you have a leak inside your home or on your property, you'll probably need to call a licensed plumber. 

Find out how to change a tap washer

Although you may think you can fix the leak, legally you can only do minor plumbing work yourself. This includes simple fixes such as changing tap washers. Watch the video below from our partners at Smart Approved Watermark to see how to change a tap washer.

How we can help you fix leaks in your home

WaterFix tileFor almost 20 years, we've helped our customers save over 300 million litres of water and reduce their water bills through our WaterFix® plumbing service.

When you book a WaterFix® appointment, one of our plumbers will check your home for leaks and opportunities to save water. 

They'll tell you about any repair work needed, suggest suitable water efficient devices and provide a quote. If you give the go ahead, they'll then do the repair work and add any charges to your water bill.

Find out how we can help you fix leaks with WaterFix® Residential.

How we can help if you think you have a leak, but can't find it

If you've detected a leak using our simple water meter test, but can't locate it, a leak detection specialist will be able to help. Not all plumbers have the special tools and skills needed to find leaks hidden underground and inside walls. 

Find out how our WaterFix® Concealed Leaks program can provide a full range of leak detection and repair services. 

If a licensed plumber finds and repairs a hidden leak, you can apply for an allowance on your bill. 

How we can help if your water meter tap is leaking

While Sydney Water owns the meter, it's your responsibility to fix leaks at the meter tap. However, we'll fix the tap within 10 working days for free as a courtesy to you. Usually we'll fix it within five days. Call 13 20 90 to request this service.

If you want the tap fixed faster, you can call a licensed plumber at your own cost or call 13 20 90 and ask for our WaterFix® Express Meter Taps service. For just $99 (including GST) we'll come to your property within three hours. If you call after 5 pm, we’ll do the repair between 7 and 10 am the next day. 

If the meter tap and pipe near it has been damaged, eg run over, hit by a lawn mower or vandalised, we may charge you extra to fix it. 
 

Report a leak

We'll fix leaks on the road or footpath if you tell us about them. If you've seen water leaking on a road or footpath, please tell us so we can investigate and fix the problem. We prioritise leaks depending on how severe they are, but also on how much disruption they'll cause to the community. We fix them as soon as we can. 

Report a leak  

If the problem is urgent, or you're reporting between 11 pm and 6 am, please call us on  13 20 90

Report a leak - Flowing

If you see a leak on the road or footpath, even if it's just a trickle, please let us know.

Why do leaks and breaks occur on our network?

We manage 22,000 kilometres of water pipes so dealing with leaks and breaks is a normal part of operating a water utility.

Changing weather or ground conditions, tree roots and construction work can all contribute to breaks.


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Hand reaching out of shower for towel

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