How can I tell if I have any water leaks?
Newer types of water meters have a leak indicator on the face of the dial. It is a triangular or diamond-shaped indicator that revolves 354 times for every gallon of water that passes through the meter. Note: You may see what looks like water on the face of the dial. It is oil that prevents corrosion and increases the life of the dial mechanism. It does not enter the water supply and does not affect the quality of the water delivered to the customer.
To check for leaks, look at the indicator when no one is drawing water. It should not be moving. If it is moving, check every plumbing fixture at the property, i.e., toilet, sink, outside sprinkler, washer, etc. Shut off the valves that supply each fixture, one by one, and check the indicator after each shutoff. When closing a valve stops the indicator from moving, or slows its movement, you have found the location of a leak. There may be more than one leak!
Be sure to check toilets at the property! Toilet leaks are the most common and are hard to see or hear. Put food coloring or laundry bluing in the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. Do not flush the toilet during this time. If the coloring appears in the toilet bowl, there is a toilet leak. Also, if you hear the toilet refilling and no one has used it, there is a leak. A major toilet leak can waste 800 cubic feet of water a day -- which would cost over $24.00 for water and over $23.00 for sewer each day. That adds up to over $1,400.00 a month!
Look for leaky faucets, too. A fast drip from a faucet wastes about 265 gallons a day -- which would cost about $1.08 for water and $1.05 for sewer per day. That's almost $65 a month! Repair leaky faucets and toilets promptly -- do it yourself or call a plumber because these leaks cost money. Once the leak is repaired, check the leak indicator again and make sure all leaks are repaired.
Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bill
Remember that water is a valuable resource that shouldn't be wasted. Your water is clean, safe and convenient but you have to pay for its treatment and the system to deliver it to you. By conserving water in your home, you also save energy needed to heat it or run appliances.
Two thirds of the water used in an average home is used in the bathroom, and a lot of it goes into the sewer. From 2-7 gallons of water are used every time a toilet is flushed. Do not use the toilet to flush items that can go in a wastebasket or garbage can.
Be aware of toilet leaks. See information about leaks.
You may have been advised to take showers rather than baths to conserve water. If you take a long shower, however, you may use more water than if you took a bath. Long, hot showers not only waste water but also energy to heat the water. Consider using reduced-flow devices for showerheads.
Don't leave the water running while you shave or brush your teeth. You are just running clean water down the drain.
Be sure the dishwasher is fully loaded before running it. There is no need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
If you wash dishes by hand, do not let the water run while washing or rinsing. Don't let the water run while cleaning vegetables or other foods, either. Use a large pan or dish for rinsing.
Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting it run until it's cold.
Be sure to have full loads, or use the automatic controls for smaller loads. Use cold water for rinsing.
Don't water on a fixed schedule or if rain is forecast -- water grass or plants only if they show signs of needing it. Water during the coolest part of the day to avoid excess evaporation and let the water sink in slowly. Water applied too fast runs off into storm sewers.
When washing the car, use a bucket of water for washing and run the hose only for rinsing.
Install shutoff valves for appliances and fixtures in case a pipe blows out. Most importantly, check for a main shutoff valve that turns off water to the whole house, and make sure that it works.
Related Links on Water Conservation
Last updated Jan 8, 2015