If the main shutoff is working, then yes you would have a main leak.
If the main shutoff is not working, then you may have a main leak, or a leaking toilet, irrigation system, faucet, or something.
I just purchased a new house and today I noticed that the water meter's 'little gear' (sorry, don't know the terminology) was turning even after I turned off the main supply line Globe Valve. I also noticed that the valve appears to have a small leak in that water is beading into drops on the valve... it's not a drip-drip-drip... but just a beading... quite slow... is that enough for the water meter movement to be noticeable or do I likely have a supply line leak coming to the house?
OR, how best to diagnose?
I'll check today if I get any flow from a faucet w/ the valve in the shutoff position... but I I am wondering (assuming the shutoff valve is only partially closing) if there is enough flow to be visible at the meter is there therefore enough flow to see it at a faucet... or could I have a defective shutoff valve that is registering flow at the meter but that will not have sufficient pressure to force flow at a faucet one floor up from the basement?
And if the latter, I presume the only way to really check it would be to replace the valve?
Last edited by DavidTu; 05-24-2010 at 08:54 AM.
A slow drip will not be noticeable at the meter unless you spend a fair amount of time looking at it. Regardless of the main shut off, if all the faucets, toilets, etc. are closed the meter should not be moving.
I've determined that the shutoff valve does not work whatsoever. I got full flow with it turned 'off'. I am going to have to replace that and see what happens at the meter when it is actually shutoff. I do suspect I am going to have to replace the water service line.
Where is this valve in relation to the meter? Before or after? The meter only measures what goes through it, so a leak before it (from the street) wouldn't register. In some places, the meter is near the street, but where I grew up, they were always in the house. But, as has been said, if you have not got anything turned on in the house, if the meter is turning, there is water flowing through the meter going somewhere. Some of the more common ones that you may not notice are toilets, trap primers, humidifiers, ice makers, etc. It would take a fairly steady drip at a faucet to notice at the meter, at least unless you checked it after intervals...it is not likely to be easy to see move with just a slow drip unless many faucets are doing the same thing! If your meter is near the street, and you had a leak between it and the house, do you notice any area where the grass is greener, or it's soggy?
Important note - I'm not a pro
Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013