Many Australians are worried about the size of their monthly household budget and can even dread the arrival of those regular utility bills. If you've just received such a statement from your water supply company and almost had a heart attack, why is this bill suddenly so big? If you haven't had any special events recently at home that could lead to increased water usage, then the first thing you need to look for is the possibility of a leakage. How do you need to proceed?

Where to Start

More often than not, a leak will occur in an area that is out of sight. After all, otherwise you would be able to clearly see the source of your problem and could have taken earlier action. Remember, there are a lot of pipes bringing in and subsequently distributing the water to your property, and you need to isolate the source of the issue.

Begin by locating your water meter and taking an exact reading from the dials or digital display. Once you've done this, go back inside the property and turn off all of the water outlets. This will include dishwashers, washing machines and all fixtures in bathrooms, and you need to instruct everybody in the house to refrain from using any water for a while. After ten minutes or so, go back to the water meter and have a look at these numbers once more. If you can see that the numbers have increased, this means that water is being used and that you likely have a leak.

Systematic Elimination

This is where some detective work comes in, as you need to isolate the problem area. You will need to go to each water outlet systematically, turning off the taps that connect each one of them before going back to the meter and checking the readings once more. By doing this, you will be able to rule out each outlet as you go and will be narrowing down the likely culprit. If you have ruled out all the toilets, basins and appliances, then the leak would appear to be in a pipe.

Checking the Pipes

Locate each pipe from its connection at the wall to its "destination" at the appliance or toilet and run a paper towel along the length of it. If you notice that the towel is damp when you remove it from the pipe, then you may have a leak at this location. You can also have a look outside to see if you can spot any damp patches of grass, which may indicate a leak underneath.

Bringing in Help

Of course, there are many pipes that you cannot see hidden behind walls and underground, and you'll need to call in a plumber as soon as possible to help you find the source of any problems here.