How to check your outside water pipe for leaks

If your meter is OUTSIDE your home (for example, in a chamber in the footpath or in your garden) then there is a chance the leak may be on your water supply pipe. This is the underground pipe that delivers water into your home from our water main in the street. For more information on water supply pipes, click here.

Before checking your water supply pipe for leaks, we would always recommend checking inside your home first. That's because the majority of leaks can be found on toilets, taps, showers, poorly plumbed appliances and faulty cistern overflows. The most common cause of leaks are leaky loos, you can find further details here.

Not sure if your meter is inside or outside your home?

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How to check if your water supply pipe has a leak

  1. Turn off your internal stop tap. You can normally find this under your kitchen sink or in a downstairs loo. See our videos for more information on finding and operating your stop tap.
  2. Go outside and take a meter reading (Click here to find how to take a reading or if you're having trouble locating your meter).
  3. Wait for one hour.
  4. Take another meter reading.
  5. If there is no difference in the two readings then the leak is somewhere inside your home. However, if there is a difference between the two meter readings then it’s likely the underground water pipe has a leak.

You can find more information on locating leaks and next steps by downloading our leakage leaflet.

What to do next

If you're unlucky enough to discover a leak on your underground supply pipe, we've detailed below some of the next steps to take.

If you live in a rented property it is your landlord’s responsibility to find and repair the leak. Please let them know you have a leak.

If you have a water meter and you repair the leak within 6 weeks, you may be entitled to claim for the cost of the water lost during the time you had the leak. You can read more and check if you are eligable by downloading our household leak allowance claim form (PDF 157 KB opens in a new window).

  • Check your home insurance policy to see if you’re covered for leaks on your water supply pipe.

  • Have you taken out a separate insurance policy which covers you for leak repairs on your water supply pipe?

    It’s always worth checking if you have one of these policies and whether it covers the cost of replacing any blocked paving or pressed concrete that needs removing to repair the leak.

  • If your insurance policy doesn’t cover repairs to your water supply pipe, and your leak doesn’t need to be repaired urgently, then please call us on 0345 672 3723.

    Depending on where the leak is located, we may be able to help with the repair. Visit unitedutilities.com/bursthome for further details about our ‘private leak repair scheme’.

  • If the leak is causing damage and needs repairing urgently you’ll need to seek professional help. Visit watersafe.org.uk to find a plumber in your area.