Water Leaks

Occasionally, customers may experience a leak in their private plumbing systems. Here is some information on the most common water leaks, how to check for one and the requirements for requesting an adjustment to your water bill.

How to Check for a Water LeakWater Leak

Most high bills are due to leaks. The best method for determining whether or not a leak exists is to take actual water meter readings. This method checks the entire internal plumbing system for water leaks.


Take a water meter reading just before going to bed, or when no one will use any water for several hours. Take another meter reading in the morning before any water is used, or after a few hours of non-usage. In theory, the two readings should be the same. If they are not, and you cannot account for use by a humidifier, ice cube maker, toilet flush, or water softener, you have a leak and further investigation is recommended.

Requesting an Adjustment

In order to qualify for an adjustment, the water bill that includes the leak must be six times the average monthly usage for the preceding six months and the inspection has revealed that the increase in meter registration was caused by a leak as a result of the defective plumbing, plumbing fixtures, or other conditions that are beyond customer control.  


Previous 6 months of water usage = 30HCFT

Water bill that includes leak = 50HFCT

Difference of 20HFCT  = (50-30=20) 

Allowed adjustment will be the following:

20HFCT x 75% = 15HFCT

**Water volume is billed in units of 100 cubic feet (HCFT) 

Next Steps

To schedule an appointment please contact us by dialing 311 or 847-931-6001 if you're outside of Elgin. A city staff person will check the water meter to verify that the leak has been fixed. 

Customers may request adjustments after leaks have been repaired. No refund shall be allowed unless the defect is repaired. No rebate will be granted for leakage that occurs five days after a notification of the increased usage.

If the water bill that includes the leak falls within the parameters, the finance department my abate or refund an amount equal to 75% of the excess over an amount equal to six times the amount of the average monthly bill. 


Did You Know?

A leak through the following diameter hole at 60 psi will result in this much wasted water per quarter of the year (3 months):

Stream DiameterGallonCubic FeetCubic Meters

The Most Common Water Waster: Toilet Leaks

The toilet is one of the most common water wasters but its leaks tend to be less noticeable than faucet leaks. To determine if your toilet is leaking, look at the toilet bowl after the tank has stopped filling. If water is still running into the bowl, or if water can be heard running, your toilet is leaking.

Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball inside the tank. To locate a toilet leak, take the tank lid off and flush. The water level should come up to about a half inch or so below the overflow pipe. Adjust the float level control screw, if necessary, so the valve shuts off the water at that level. If the valve itself is leaking, you may need a plumber to fix it.

Although water may not be seen or heard running, your toilet may have a silent leak. To test for a silent leak, drop a little food coloring into the tank. Do not flush. Wait for about 10 minutes. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a silent leak.

It is probably located in or around the plunger ball or flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. These leaks are easy to fix with parts from your local hardware or home store.

If no leaks were found, a thorough inspection of your pipes, lines, connections, and valves under your home or in your basement, would be the next step. Your hot water tank could have a hole rusted in the bottom or the drain valve may be leaking.

By following these simple steps, you should be successful in finding accurate results that could save you money.

  1. 311 Contact Center

    Phone: 311 or 847-931-6001 if out of city limits