Leaks in the Home

The City of Brantford encourages you to check for water leaks. If your water bill is higher than usual and your consumption hasn't changed, you may have a leak.

Checking for leaks

To check for leaks in your home:

  1. Turn off all faucets and appliances that use water.
  2. Check your water meter. If you have a spinning red “leak indicator,” you may have a leak.
  3. Read the number of litres shown on the water meter. Wait at least 15 minutes before using water. If the number on the meter doesn't change, you likely don't have any leaks. To detect slow leaks, wait longer to check.


Toilets are prone to leaks and should be checked often. They account for a lot of water wastage.

To check for leaks in your toilet:

  1. Remove the toilet tank lid.
  2. Put 10 drops of food colouring into the toilet's tank (not the bowl). Do not flush.
  3. If any colour appears in the toilet bowl within 15 minutes, water is leaking from the tank and you should repair it.

Flapper valves

A flapper valve holds and releases the water when you flush your toilet. They can easily cause leaks when the flapper valve fails to create a tight seal.

A seal may be compromised due to several reasons, such as:

  • a snagging chain
  • corrosion
  • worn flapper

Steps to change your flapper valve

To replace your flapper valve:

  1. Turn off the water.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Remove the flapper.
  4. Clean any buildup and install a new valve.

Leaks in toilets can also be caused by worn fill valves. Fill valves refill the toilet tank. Gently bend the float arm of the valve downwards so that it shuts off the water about half an inch below the top of the overflow pipe. The tank water level should be at the level line on the inside of the tank.


Worn washers in faucets can leak. If a firmly closed tap continues to drip, you may need to replace the washer. You should also check other water valves in the house to find any major leaks.

Whole house humidifiers

Central humidifiers are built into your house's heating and cooling system. They use direct water supply and can have leaks. The equipment includes an overflow drain to the sewer in case the refill valve fails to close. The water is sent directly to the sewer when the valve fails to work. This can result in water wastage. You should check your humidifier often.

Mechanical trap seal primers

In houses 20 years or older, laundry sink faucets are usually attached to a trap seal primer. The mechanical trap seal primer releases water to the floor drain every time you use the tap. This prevents sewer gases from entering your home. The seal is prone to wear, and should be checked for leaks.

To see if your mechanical trap seal primer is leaking, check for:

  • Dripping sound near the floor drain.
  • Unusually warm laundry room.
  • High water bill and no other leaks.
  • Flowing water in the drain tube.

Learn more from these water conservation videos.