Leak Prevention

Water leaks can happen to anyone, and most leaks are silent, making them hard to find. Whether they come from your toilet, bathtub, washing machine or dishwasher, they can cause a high water and wastewater bill and costly damage to your home if you don’t stop them in time. 

A leaky pipe

The City of Vaughan has tips you can use to help catch leaks early or, hopefully, prevent them from happening altogether.


How to test for water leaks

Want to learn how to test for water leaks in your home? It’s easy! Record the number on your water meter before bed, then avoid running sprinklers, washing machines, dishwashers or toilets overnight. Then in the morning, check the number on your water meter. If the number has changed, you may have a water leak somewhere inside or outside your home.

The most common cause of high water and wastewater bills is toilet leaks. To check for a leaky toilet, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the tank lid from the back of the toilet.
  2. Put about five drops of food colouring in the toilet tank. Use Worcestershire sauce or another very dark liquid if you do not have food colouring.
  3. Close the toilet lid and wait 30 minutes. If coloured water seeps into the toilet bowl, you may have a leak. This can be a sign that the flapper valve may need to be replaced or realigned.
  4. If the bowl is clear and all the coloured water remains in the tank, you do not have a leak.
  5. Repeat these steps with all toilets in your home.


If you suspect you have a water leak, call a licensed plumber to investigate and repair it as soon as possible. For more information on checking for leaks, read the City’s water wise brochure (PDF).


Accidental Water Leak Adjustment Policy

Did you know the City has an Accidental Water Leak Adjustment Policy (PDF)? It provides one-time financial support for eligible residents who are Alectra Utilities account holders or not-for-profit organizations who have experienced an unintentional water leak due to failed plumbing, such as a leaky toilet or faucet. For details on the policy, including eligibility and how to apply, visit the City’s Accidental Water Leak Adjustment webpage.