Fixing Leaks

Understanding your high bill

There are many reasons why your bill may be higher than normal. This could be the result of:

  • annual Parks charge, which is usually billed in the July to September period
  • you may have used more water
  • warm weather that’s caused you to use more water
  • an increase in lawn or garden watering
  • new water-using appliances
  • a change of occupier/ownership of the property
  • detectable slow leaks form overflowing hot water services
  • faulty toilet cisterns, dripping taps (please repair these as soon as possible)
  • undetectable leaking water pipes on your property.

Please ensure the meter number on the back of your bill matches the number engraved on your water meter. If these don’t match, please call us on 131 691.

We review water consumption charges for customers who identify undetectable leaks and have the leak repaired by a licenced plumber.

Please ensure your meter reading is correct. Take your bill out to the water meter and check if the meter reading on the bill and the meter itself roughly match up (the two readings won’t be exactly the same because you will have used water since your meter was last read).

There should be a row of up to eight or nine figures on a white background behind glass on your meter. Some numbers will be in black, some in red. The red numbers show your water consumption in litres, while the black numbers record the kilolitres. The black numbers (kilolitres) are the ones that will be shown on the back of your bill. Compare the black numbers on your meter to the reading on the back of your bill.

The reading shown on the meter should be higher than the latest reading shown on your bill. If the reading is lower, you may have been charged incorrectly. Please call us on 131 691 for assistance.

Two-minute leak test

You can check if you have a leak yourself in just two minutes.

Before you begin, please ensure your meter reading is correct. Take your bill out to the water meter and check if the meter reading on the bill and the meter itself roughly match up (the two readings won’t be exactly the same because you will have used water since your meter was last read).

There should be a row of up to eight or nine figures on a white background behind glass on your meter. Some numbers will be in black, some in red. The red numbers show your water consumption in litres, while the black numbers record the kilolitres. The black numbers (kilolitres) are the ones that will be shown on the back of your bill. Compare the black numbers on your meter to the reading on the back of your bill.
The reading shown on the meter should be higher than the latest reading shown on your bill. If the reading is lower, you may have been charged incorrectly. Please call us on 131 691 to assist.

This simple test will help you determine if you have a leak. For this test to work, you need to make sure you're not using any water in the property. Before you start, please check that:

  • your stop tap is turned on (if you turn it off no water will pass through your water meter)
  • you haven't recently flushed the toilet
  • the dishwasher and washing machine is turned off
  • the evaporative cooling is turned off
  • any garden irrigation or sprinklers are turned off.

Once you have made sure no water is being used, please follow these steps:

  1. 1 Write down the current reading on your water meter
  2. 2Wait two minutes, then write down the reading on your water meter again. Also check if the dials are spinning
  3. 3 If the numbers on your water meter are the same, there is no leak at the property. If the numbers are slightly different, or the dials moved slightly, there is either a small leak or could be due to dripping taps or faulty appliances
  4. 4If you suspect there is a leak at your property, please contact a licenced plumber to investigate. If the plumber finds a leak on your property, have it repaired immediately. Ask the plumber for a plumber’s report which will explain what the problem was and how it was repaired
  5. 5When you receive the plumber’s report, call us on 9313 8349. We may be able to review your account depending on the problem that has been repaired

Make sure the plumber's report includes :

  • the plumber's ABN or ACN
  • the plumber's registered licence number
  • the address of where the leak occurred
  • the water meter number at the property
  • the location of the leak
  • the reason for the leak
  • confirmation that the leak has been repaired
  • the date the leak was repaired
  • a water meter reading taken after the leak is repaired (if the plumber doesn't do this, take the reading down yourself and write the reading on the plumber's report, with the date).

Fix dripping taps

A slowly leaking tap can waste up to 16,000 litres of water a year. Leaks should be identified and repaired as soon as possible to avoid wasting water.

Changing the tap washers usually fixes dripping taps. Leaking taps, toilets and pipes will generally need to be repaired by a licensed plumber.

A few drips per minute may not seem like much, but once you multiply this figure by the number of hours in a day followed by the number of days in a year, it's easy to realise just how precious those few drips really are!

The volume of water lost by a dripping tap will vary depending on the severity of the leak, however it has the potential to waste up to 16,000 litres of quality drinking water per year.

Dripping taps occur mainly when fixtures are continuously turned off too tightly and, over time, the pressure on the washer causes it to deteriorate.

Replacing a tap washer is quite simple, however it is recommended that you contact a licensed plumber. These steps can be used as a guide to replacing your tap washer:

  • Turn off all water-using appliances, then turn off the water at the meter
  • Relieve the water pressure at the nearest tap to the meter
  • Turn the dripping tap on all the way
  • Undo the tap buttons (if any) and remove the tap handles
  • Remove the flange - you may require a multigrip tool
  • Scrape away any old silicon around the tap fitting
  • Undo the spindle and make sure the body washer is intact. If it is not intact, it will need to be replaced
  • Remove the washer and replace it with a new one
  • Before replacing the rest of the tap, it is important to make sure that the leak has been fixed. Turn off the taps then turn the water mains tap back on at the meter. If the area is still leaking, the mains will need to be turned off again and the previous steps repeated
  • If there are no leaks, replace the flange firmly by hand as well as the tap handles and buttons - tighten these with a shifter so they don't come loose
  • If the taps are in a wet area such as a shower, then seal the area around the spindle with silicon to prevent water from getting into the wall cavity - allow a couple of hours before using the tap

Fix leaking toilets

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 60,000 litres of water per year, yet toilet leaks often go unnoticed as the water trickles down the back of the bowl.

Follow these simple steps to check if your toilet has a leak:

  • Remove the lid of your toilet cistern
  • Place a few drops of food dye into the cistern
  • Do not flush your toilet for 10-15 minutes
  • If the dye has seeped down into the bowl when you return, then you know you have a leak

Toilet leaks are often a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating. You can contact a licensed plumber to fix this for you. As a temporary fix, you may be able to install a toilet weight in the cistern.

It is important to check your toilet for leaks every few months so you can be sure it is not wasting any water.

Check for leaks in your pool

Leaks can develop in the pool's membrane and piping. Even a small leak can waste 7,000 litres per year. These can be difficult to detect.

Firstly, you will need to identify if the leak is coming from the pool plumbing or the pool structure.

  1. Fill the pool to its normal level and mark it with a piece of duct tape.
  2. With your filter system running, wait 12 to 24 hours then check to see if the water level has dropped significantly.
  3. Refill the pool back to the original level of the duct tape with the filter system off.
  4. Wait the same amount of time (also over the same part of the day, i.e. 8am-8pm) and measure the water loss again.

If you are losing more water with the filter system running, the leak is on the pressure side of your plumbing somewhere PAST the impeller of the pump.

If you are losing less water with the filter system not running, the leak is on the vacuum side of your plumbing somewhere BEFORE the impeller of the pump.

If the water loss is the same, the leak is more likely in the structure of the pool, however plumbing leaks should not be ruled out.

If a leak is detected soon after construction of the pool, the owner should contact the builder to investigate.

What to do about a leak

When it comes to leaking pool pipes, it is recommended you always consult a licensed plumber or leak detection specialist.

It is important for pool owners to understand the regular water loss of their pool. Leaks are generally the cause of any irregular water loss but should not be mistaken for regular pool water loss (such as splashing, evaporation, etc.)