Leaks are tricky to find. Chances are you already know you’ve got one because water consumption on your property has spiked, but you can’t figure out where it’s coming from. Unfortunately more properties deal with this than you might think! Here are my top 5 things to look for to track down the origin spot of a leak on site.
A. Leaks Outside
1. If you’re property is newer construction post 2012, then you definitely have an AMR (Automated Meter Reading System) installed on site. This tech is tracking the in unit water consumption for each occupied unit on property. The great thing about these AMR systems is that they do a pretty good job letting you know when they’re malfunctioning or not working. Assuming your tech is working and all of the hardware is working as it’s supposed to- you should be receiving in unit consumption reads for each occupied unit on your property. A quick way to see if you’ve got a leak (most likely outside) is to compare the consumption that your AMR system is reporting to the consumption listed on the water bill generated from the city. Assuming your irrigation account is on its’ own meter- you should be able to compare the AMR system’s reported consumption to what the City is reporting and see if there are any big discrepancies. Also check on the consumption being reported for your vacant units! If it’s not 0 then you may have a leak in that unit!
2. Go outside and walk your property- when it’s not raining and hasn’t rained in a few days. If you walk your property and see any large pools of standing water, this is typically an indication that you have some sort of underground leak.
B. Leaks Inside
3. If you walk through your units and notice any wet spots on your wall (I realize this sounds obvious but it’s amazing that it’s often overlooked) then you’ve definitely got some sort of water flowing behind your wall that’s outside of the pipe it should be inside of. Don’t forget to look up to! Tubs leak and you’ll see the biggest sign of this in the unit below’s ceiling!
4. Leaky faucets are a huge cause of water loss on property. To check and see if you’ve got leaky faucets in a pretty quick way- I’d suggest doing one of two things. The first being if you’ve got a few minutes- step into your tenant’s unit and dry off the bottom of the sink/tub that you’re looking at. You don’t want to make an assumption that the water has been turned off long enough for the bottom of the sink/tub to be dry. Once you’ve dried off the bottom and confirmed that the faucet handles are turned off- wait a few minutes and see if dripping begins or if the floor of the tub/sink becomes wet. If you don’t have time to wait- wipe off the faucet head upon entering the unit and then press a paper towel up against the faucet head to see if water is still coming out.
5. 9 times out of 10 when we’re fixing leaks inside the unit it’s because of leaky diverters. Turn on your tenant’s shower for a minute and look down at the tub spout. If you’ve got a steady stream of water coming out as the shower is running, your diverter needs to be repaired or better yet- replaced.
I hope this brought you value! I realize it’s a quick read but it’s important to know what to look for when trying to identify origin spots on property. There are many sophisticated ways to identify leaks as well- and if you think you’ve got a real problem on your property and you can’t find it- I would encourage you to hire a professional. Letting a leak do is one of the worst things you can do!