If you hear water running from your home's main water valve but can't find the exact source, you could be in for some challenges. Such cases might send you into a frenzy—checking the water lines, tap, taps, and any accessible pipes to find a leak. You can take comfort in knowing that this is, at least, a common problem.
So, why does it sound like water is constantly running when there's no visible leak? It could be a broken toilet flapper. It could also be a leakage in the internal pipes, or a damaged water heater.
Whatever the cause of the leakage is, you need to put measures in place to solve it. This guide discusses some of the things you should do.
Evaluating the Cause of the Leak
If you didn't spot any signs of dripping during your initial assessment, you could be wondering what to do next.
Start by turning off the water heater and all taps. Try to ensure that no source is draining water.
After that, listen carefully and see if you can still hear any running water. If you still can hear it, there are several courses to take.
For instance, one of your toilet flappers might have sustained damage, so check those one by one. They could be passing water through various pipes in the house.
If that's a bust, try looking for internal pipes you weren't able to check. Move slowly toward the sound. Try to pinpoint the exact source.
Identifying the Cause of Running Water Sound
If you're still at a loss, check all your taps and any open valves or hoses to see if there's any water slowly dripping from them. They may need tightening if you can't turn them all the way off.
Some users also try to listen to the water heater when it's still on.
Read The Sweep Hand on the Water Meter
If you're still trying to determine whether there's some flowing water in your system, try checking your water meter. You should notice a clear gap between the sweep hand and the triangle on the display, which should make it easy to read it accurately.
Mark the location of your sweep hand on a note, then turn off the entire house's water supply. Wait a few hours, then check the sweep hand once more. For instance, it might be at 5 when you stop the water, then after four to five hours, it might move to 6 if water is still somehow moving through your pipes.
When the water supply is off, the hand shouldn't move, so if it does, there's probably a leak somewhere in the pipes. In that case, you should think of contacting a professional. Trying to find the leak yourself at this point is likely to be prohibitively difficult unless you have professional-grade skills. Worse, trying to fix it by yourself could easily result in further damage.
The continuous sound of running water should always be a red alert. You don't want water running your home without knowing its source or destination. These mystery leaks can lead to serious water damage or costly utility bills. So as annoying as this issue is, you shouldn't ignore it.