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Water leaks and basic repairs

When it comes to residential and household leaks, toilets and faucets are the most common culprits, although any water using device can eventually leak.

Learn more about how much water an average person uses and find tips for saving water and money in your home. Visit Saving Water in Your Home.

Homeowner Water Guide

Discover a library of tips and tools for creating a water-efficient home. Visit our Homeowner Water Guide.

How much do leaks really cost?

On your water utility bill, water is measured in cubic meters (m3) - 1 m3 is equal to 1000 litres of water.

The average Calgarian uses about 7m3 (7000L) of water every month. In 2018 each cubic metre costs $3.15*

Leak Infographic Showing Size of One Cubic Metre of Water  

Toilet leaks can range in size. A chain caught under a toilet flapper can waste 3 m3/month. A leak this size could increase your bill by $9.45 each month.

If the water level in the toilet tank is too high and overflowing into the overflow tube, or the flapper is completely lifted, it can waste 1,200 m3/month. A leak this size could increase your bill by $3,780.48 each month.**

Infographic Showing Size Comparison of One to 1200 Cubic Metres of Water
Click to view larger image.

In the case of a leaky faucet, the size and cost of leaks can range as well. One drop per second can waste 2.5 m3/month. A leak this size could increase your bill by $7.87 each month.

A small stream of water can waste 15 m3/month. A leak this size could increase your bill by $47.26 each month.

A steady flow of water accidentally left running can waste 360 m3/month. A leak this size could increase your bill by $1,134.14 each month.***

Volume of water can vary based on type of fixture and water pressure. Assumes a 30 day billing period.
*Based on 2018 water rate ($1.6652/m3) and wastewater rate ($1.4852/m3) for Calgary. Not including service charges.
** Based on modeling of possible flow rate of 1” diameter residential service line.
*** Based on a 2.2 gallons per minute tap aerator as per bylaw requirement.

How to check for leaks

Most leaks are silent, which means you may not see evidence like a large puddle. Make sure to check for leaks – indoor and outside – every six months.

Toilets are the number one source of residential water leaks. If you suspect your toilet may be leaking, take the Leaky Toilet Test:

  1. Drop - Put drops of food colouring into the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes.
  2. Peek - Look in the bowl. If the water changes colour, you've got a leak.
  3. Repair - If the water changes, your toilet is leaking and needs repair.
  4. Save - By repairing just one toilet, you will save water and money.

Use your water meter to check for leaks. In Calgary most water meters are installed inside the house where the water pipe enters your home. This is usually in the basement, near your main water shut-off valve.

  1. Turn off all taps and water appliances (dishwashers, washing machines).
  2. Watch the flow register on the face of the meter. The register could look like a gear (round or triangular, black or red) or a needle depending on the model of meter you have.
  3. If it keeps turning, you have a leak somewhere in your house.
  4. Check all water devices, such as your taps, humidifier, hot water heater and water softener. Use ourHigh Water Consumption Investigation Checklist.

What to do when you find a leak?

  • Follow our toilet repair or faucet repair steps if those devices are the issue.
  • Visit a hardware store for repair tips and parts.
  • Search for related YouTube videos or how-to books with detailed instructions.

If you aren’t able to fix the leak yourself, or have trouble finding the leak, hiring a professional plumber is the best solution.