Please advise on an unknown leak

5 Replies


I own a townhome and received a letter from the city it’s in, that the water meter has indicated that there may be a leak at the property.

There was a small leak under one of the sinks and I had a plumber fix it immediately. However, I noticed that the water bill is very high compared to prior years. Even though the tenants are responsible to pay for the water, I find it wasteful for them to pay such a high amount.

I advised the tenants and forwarded the letter to them so they are aware and to inform me of any leaks or water issues immediately.


I’m wondering though, since it’s a townhome, whether the city or the association are responsible for detecting any leaks outside of the home.

I’m probably answering my own question here and going to look into the townhome docs, but would like any additional advice from the sound minds on this forum.

Originally posted by @Michael Nahm :


I own a townhome and received a letter from the city it’s in, that the water meter has indicated that there may be a leak at the property.

There was a small leak under one of the sinks and I had a plumber fix it immediately. However, I noticed that the water bill is very high compared to prior years. Even though the tenants are responsible to pay for the water, I find it wasteful for them to pay such a high amount.

I advised the tenants and forwarded the letter to them so they are aware and to inform me of any leaks or water issues immediately.


I’m wondering though, since it’s a townhome, whether the city or the association are responsible for detecting any leaks outside of the home.

I’m probably answering my own question here and going to look into the townhome docs, but would like any additional advice from the sound minds on this forum.

 Most homeowners are responsible for the water from the shut off valve at the sidewalk (or attached to the condo) all the way through to the faucets. Leaks could be a washing machine hose, water heater that has rusted out, a pipe inside the wall that was hit with a screw or nail during construction that has finally given way or the owner or tenant pounding nails into the water wall to hang pictures, or the ice maker hose in the kitchen, the dishwasher hose, etc. If the unit has a basement start there and look for water. It's also possible, someone is using your outside hose to water their side of the grass. ;-)

The most likely culprit is a toilet that flushes or runs constantly. If a running toilet uses just one gallon a minute, that's 43,200 gallons of water in a month. I've seen this happen a lot.

I recommend asking your tenant to check the toilets to see if they are trickling or flushing on their own. If so, get them fixed immediately. 

I also recommend educating yourself and your tenants on this issue. Then make the tenant responsible for high water use if they fail to report it.

I was in a very similar situation. The city called and told me I had a small, but continuous leak at one of my multis. They said it's usually a toilet with a small leak (just like Nathan said). I had my pm go over with food coloring and put a few drops in the upper reservoir of the toilets. Like magic, toilet #4 was the culprit with just a tiny, imperceptible leak that was detected by the bowl water changing color.

The toilet as others have said, is usually the culprit, its amazing how much water it can use just trickling day and night.  Depending on how old the toilet is, your might want to just change it out if its not a water saving model.  If keeping the existing toilets, I would probably change out both the flapper and fill valves as they are cheap.