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Leak Alert Program for Single Family Customers

Automated water meters allow the SFPUC and our customers to access timely and accurate information about water use. Using the information available to us through hourly water consumption data from our automated meter reading system, we notify residential single-family customers when they have three days of non-stop, 24/7 water use, which could mean they have a plumbing leak. Please review the frequently asked questions below to learn more about the program and actions you can take.

Starting September 12, 2017, we are expanding the ways we contact single family customers about constant water usage to include email, mobile phone text, phone call, and letter. To update your account information, please register or log on to My Account, email us at or call (415) 551-3000.

Why did I receive a leak alert?

Our leak alert is a courtesy to inform you that the water meter at your home has recorded continuous water usage every hour for a 3-day period. Typically, there are periods during the day or night, often when residents are sleeping, when water fixtures and irrigation systems would not be running and no water use is occurring. Therefore, it is unusual for a household's meter to register usage continuously for consecutive 24-hour periods and this may indicate a leak in your home. You are advised to check and fix potential leaks or other causes of high water use. It is the customer's responsibility to determine if the continuous or high water usage is still occurring at your home.

How was the continuous usage identified?

The automated water meter at your property provides us with information on hourly water usage. The meter readings we receive identify every cubic foot of water used each hour (one cubic foot is equal to approximately 7 ½ gallons).

If our data shows hourly water usage of at least one cubic foot every hour for a 3-day reporting period, we will notify you by email, mobile phone text, phone call, and letter, for all methods we have current contact information on file. Our alerts will indicate the dates and amounts of continuous usage.

Does this mean I have a leak?

Continuous usage may indicate your home has a plumbing or irrigation system leak.  However, depending on your household’s water use this is not always the case. Visit our home leaks page for tips on how to identify and repair common leaks including toiletsfaucets, showerheads, and irrigation systems. Select standard toilet repair parts are provided free from the SFPUC, and are available to pick up at our Customer Service counter (located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue) during business hours Monday – Friday. In addition to visually inspecting plumbing fixtures, other ways to help detect leaks include:

  • Performing a manual read on the water meter while all water fixtures and irrigation systems are turned off can also help identify silent leaks such as worn toilet flappers and breaks in the main water supply line leading into your home.
  • Register or log on to My Account to view your household’s daily water use reports. Sudden increases in water use could mean a plumbing or irrigation system leak has developed or some other unusual water use is occurring. Hourly data also will soon be available on My Account. If My Account shows that your hourly water usage never went to zero over the last three days, it could indicate you have a leak.

Do I need to contact Customer Service?

Our leak alerts are issued as a courtesy. You do not need to contact us if you receive one unless you would like to be opted out of receiving certain methods of notification, such as mobile phone text or any such notices in the future. Use the resources on our website and My Account to help identify any leaks that may be occurring around your home. If you suspect you have a leak but cannot repair it, please contact a plumber. Repairs of leaks on the property are the customer's responsibility. Routine water-fixture maintenance and repairs can add up to big savings on water bills and help us protect our precious water supplies.  

How much water could I be wasting?

If a leak is occurring on your property, it's difficult to identify exactly how much water in total has been wasted. You can, however, estimate how much has been wasted in just the past three days by multiplying the continuous usage rate noted on our leak alert by 24 hours by three days. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that ten percent of U.S. homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. A leaking toilet can waste upward of 3,000 gallons of water in just a few days, while a faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.

The reporting tools available on My Account can help you see daily, monthly and seasonal patterns in your water use, and spot unusual increases in water usage that could be attributed to a leak. Hourly data will be available soon.

Last updated: 9/8/2017 9:09:05 AM