While the water customer is ultimately responsible for any leaks that occur past the meter, the City may consider an adjustment of your water bill. This is offered as a courtesy by the City in order to allow you time to correct the leak. If your leak is not completely repaired, an adjustment will not be offered; simply turning the valve on a toilet or sprinkler system to the off position is not accepted as a repair. Please email the Water Billing office or call 713-475-5566 to have a leak adjustment request form sent to you. Completion of this form does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your bill.
If you think your meter is measuring your water usage inaccurately, we will test it for you for a fee, payable in advance of test scheduling. If the meter is found to be inaccurate outside industry standards, the fee will be refunded. Please download the Meter Test Application (PDF).
Leaks not only cause water loss, but may lead to high water bills. The best way to check for leaks in the entire plumbing system is to take a meter reading. Record the water meter reading at a time when no one will use any water to the residence for several hours. Then, after several hours, take another reading.
We recommend that customers take the first reading before they go to sleep and the second when they arise. The two readings should be the same if no one has used water in the house for several hours. If the readings are not the same, you probably have a leak. Also note the fine flow indicator, which is a small triangle or diamond on the face of the meter. If it is turning, that means that water is going through the meter and into the house.
Appliances That Use Water
Remember - humidifiers, refrigerator units (icemakers), toilets and all water softeners use water. If these items are in use, water will pass through your meter.
Toilets are the most common sources of leaks, although they are easy to detect. Place a toilet tablet or a few drops of food coloring in the tank, but don't flush. After a few minutes, if coloring appears in the bowl, your toilet is indeed leaking water. Usually all that is needed is a replacement flapper valve, which is the soft rubber flapper in the tank.
Water corrodes these flappers over time and it is recommended that they be replaced every two years. The adjustment screw at the back of the toilet may also need to be corrected to stop water from going into the overflow tube.
Common Leak Causes
Other common causes for leaks are:
- Faucets - Dripping faucets can cause substantial water loss every month.
- Icemakers - Be sure it is still connected properly and is not dripping water anywhere.
- Sprinkler systems - Check for soggy areas of the yard and sprinkler heads and valves.
- Water heaters - Check for standing water around your water heater.