Detect Leaks

Leaks are a common cause of higher than expected water bills. Your water meter may be your most useful tool in identifying water leaks on your property.

To check for leaks

  1. Locate your water meter. Water meters are usually located in the parking strip or in the sidewalk at the front or side of the house. If you are unable to check your water meter yourself, call SPU Utility Services at (206) 684-5800 for assistance.
  2. Locate the shut-off valve for your building. The shut-off valve can be indoors or outdoors. Some buildings may have more than one shut-off valve. If you don’t have a shut-off valve, we advise that you arrange for a plumber to install one.
  3. Turn off all water faucets and appliances that use water. Check the position of the "1 cubic foot" dial on your water meter and record your reading.
  4. After 30 minutes, record another meter reading.

Compare your readings

Your 2 readings should be the same because no water should have been used.

  • If the dial has moved, you have a leak.
  • If the needle on the "1 cubic foot" dial is moving, close the building’s shut-off valve. If the dial stops, your leak is inside the building. Check running toilets and faucets.
  • If the dial continues to move when the building’s shut-off valve is closed, you have an underground leak between the water meter and the shut-off valve.

If you believe you may have a leak after you've checked for one, please review SPU's Leak Adjustment webpage to check for eligibility requirements and next steps.

Related links 

Reduce Water Use

Related resources

Saving Water Partnership: for relevant information about finding and discovering leaks, including videos and conservation tips.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Public Utilities

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.