Home > Customer Service > Detecting Leaks
8570 Executive Park Avenue
    Fairfax, VA 22031
Main: 703-698-5600
    Customer Service: 703-698-5800
After Hours / Emergencies: 703-698-5613
    TTY: 711

Your Plumbing

Winter Water Tips


Detecting Leaks

  1. If you have access to your meter box, one way to detect a leak is to read the water meter. Note the position of the clock-style hand that records individual gallons.

  2. Wait at least 15 minutes without using water.

  3. Look at the meter again to see if the hand moved. If it did not, there are probably no leaks. Waiting longer between meter readings (overnight, for instance) might help you detect slow or intermittent leaks.

  4. If the meter shows movement, check all of your faucets for visible leaks.

  5. Check the toilets for leaks by adding food coloring to the water in the tank. Do not flush. Wait 15 minutes to see if the colored water appears in the toilet bowl. If it does, there is a leak. Repairing toilet leaks is normally inexpensive and easy to do. Replacement part kits are available at most hardware stores.

  6. If there appear to be no leaks inside your home, and the meter is located outside, check for underground leaks. Turn off your main valve inside, then open a faucet to verify that the valve is working—the water flow should stop completely. Go back outside to the meter to see if it continues to run with the main valve off. If it does, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing between the meter and the valve.

  7. After making repairs, repeat the meter reading procedure to verify that there are no more leaks.

Is there any relief from high bills caused by leaks?

As a courtesy, we offer a one-time adjustment for unusually high water charges caused by leaks.

To be eligible for adjustment, the Customer must:

(1) promptly and properly repair the leak when detected;
(2) provide written proof of repairs to Fairfax Water in the form of copies of receipts or an invoice; and
(3) not have received a Courtesy Leak Adjustment from Fairfax Water during the preceding five years.

Please use this form to submit the required information.

You may mail the completed form to:

Fairfax Water
Attn: Billing
8570 Executive Park Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22031

You may fax it to: (703) 289-6133

Or you may email it to: customers@fairfaxwater.org

You should receive a response to your request within two weeks. Most leak adjustments are calculated by crediting charges for 2/3 of the estimated water loss. Adjustments for a leaking water service lateral (the line running from the meter to the house) are calculated to credit 100% of the estimated water loss.