Am I responsible for water lost from leaks in my residential plumbing system?
The customer is responsible for repairing all leaks from the water meter to the house, as well as paying for the water lost. To keep your bill low, always keep your plumbing in good condition. If there is a leak near the meter and you think it is the City’s responsibility, call customer service at 281.333.4211 to report your concerns and arrange for a City inspection.

The most common causes of leaks are dripping faucets, leaking joints, and bad toilets. Slow drips can waste 170 gallons of water per day, or 5,000 gallons in a month. Underground leaks can be even more dangerous and completely hidden. Water from a broken pipe may or may not come to the surface. Often, it can drain into sewer lines or storm drains through cracks and joints, leaving the customer none the wiser until the bill arrives.

A water meter that runs constantly is a possible sign of a hidden leak. To check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house, or within the house itself:
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water using appliances. 

  • Go to your meter and observe it for 5 to 10 minutes. If the meter (dial or red gauge) continues to move, a leak is likely.
Toilet leaks are the hardest to detect. By the time you can hear a toilet running, it has probably been leaking slowly for some months.

Leaks are caused by two things:
  • Misadjusted or worn floats

  • Worn flappers

Badly adjusted floats allow too much water to enter the tank. Excess water will flow down the overflow tube into the bowl. Remove the top of the toilet tank and look inside. The water should come to within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the overflow tube. Adjust the float if necessary.

Detecting a bad flapper is more difficult. It should be smooth, not pitted, and fall back into the drain correctly and easily. Although you can drain the tank to feel the flapper, it is often easier to check using food coloring or flavored drink mix. This test will also detect a bad float.

If you have repaired a hidden leak or one in your toilet, you may be eligible for an adjustment. If this is the case, a request for an adjustment can be made by contacting Customer Service at 281.333.4211.

Show All Answers

1. Am I responsible for water lost from leaks in my residential plumbing system?
2. What if my water bill is unusually high? Can I get an adjustment?
3. What can I do if I have an unusually high water bill and cannot determine the presence of a leak?