Water leaks maybe obvious or hidden but both need to be identified and repaired to save Money from being Wasted.
There are two types of Water Leaks but both cost you big money if left unrepaired. Fix the obvious leaks first and look for the hidden ones next.
You have all seen the obvious Water-Leaks. They are like carrying a water bucket filled with holes. They are made up of leaking faucets, leaky spigots, and dripping shower heads. All of these add up to for higher water and waste water bills or if you are on a well/septic then higher energy bills and premature septic failure. The simple answer is to fix these Water Leaks or have them fixed as soon as they occur. You will not only save on a precious resource but avoid paying money for wasted water.
Water faucets tend to wear out over the years. The o-rings in faucets and the seats they seal in need to be replaced or repaired from time to time. You may want to consider a new faucet over keeping an existing one depending on current style and cost of repair vs. cost of new. Many of us can install a new faucet but may not be able to repair the old one so calculate the cost of the plumber and then decide if replacing or repair is best for you.
Leaking spigots on the outside need to be checked periodically. Unlike a faucet which is used daily the spigot may be leaking and go unnoticed. It is wise to check every so often and if found leaking installs a new one for about $20.
Shower heads like to drip for a while after you turn them off but if that last longer than a minute or two then repair or replacement may be in order for the water controls.
The three leaks listed above fall in the obvious Water-Leaks and easy to spot category. Other leaks that can run up bills and remain undetected are: Water softeners, water heaters, toilets, dishwashers, water purifiers, humidifiers, irrigation lines and heads, and hoses.
•Water Softeners have timers that backwash the unit periodically. These have electronic valves which can stick open, leak or leak intermittently. Normally they are plumbed to a drain with a flex tube. You need to look at the tube to see that it is not leaking. In addition start the backwash manually and check to see the valve closes at completion. These are known to stick and run for a period of time after the cycle which can cost a lot of money in wasted consumption.
•Water heaters have blow off valves that can fail and leak water to the over flow tube. Review these periodically. If it is leaking the valve may be bad or the tank is building too much pressure which is dangerous and needs to be replaced.
If you decide to replace your heater you may want to look at the energy saving choice of a
solar water heater.
•Dishwashers have auto fills as do washers so make sure they are turning off properly. In addition older unit’s use more water so if you’re considering replacing them look for a energy star tag to get your best buy.
•Toilets are notorious for high bills. The internal parts of the toilet are found under the lid. Remove the lid and look to see if the water is going in over the overflow tube. If it is then adjust the screw on top of the float device to turn water off about ½ inch below overflow. If tank has a round cylinder type there is a clip that moves it down the shaft. Squeeze the clip and lower the float down the shaft to turn water off sooner. You may also have a bad seal in the bottom of the toilet which allows water to leak into the bowl and down the drain. Drip some red food coloring in the tank and if it shows up in the bowl your seal is leaking. Both issues may require a new float or seal to fix. I personally would replace the toilet with a low flow style unit which uses about 2.5 gallons compared to the average 7 gallons on older models.
•Water purifiers are equipped with backwash cycles on better models. These can stick so you need to follow the flex tube and make sure water is not flowing when cycle is over.
•Humidifiers on heating units are prone to failure. The lime builds up and water conditions tend to make them a natural source for a leak. Open the unit and see if the water is going into the overflow. If it is the float or float valve is either stuck or bad. Replace or clean depending on condition. It is wise to shut these off in non use times to avoid leaking problems.
•Irrigation systems can develop leaks and since they tend to run when you are sleeping may go unnoticed. Routinely operate each zone and check for bad heads, water running where there are no heads or soft spots in the landscape. These are leak areas you need to repair.
•Hoses are a leaking issue if left unrepaired. Why pay for water to run where you do not want it to go while using your hose for car washing, home cleaning, etc. Repair clamps or a new hose is a much better answer.
Finally there are two good methods to detect Water Leaks that may be under ground, or under a slab in a home. Go to the meter by the curb if yours is outside. Open the box where the meter is. Look to see if the meter is running when you have no water turned on. Many meters have a Water leak detection dial that turns at very low flows. If the meter is not running then take a reading and wait thirty minutes without any water use in the home. Read meter again and if it has changed you may have a leak. If your meter is inside or you cannot read it then get a simple stethoscope device. Many children’s toy areas have cheap ones that do work. Turn water off at valve in the house where water first enters the home. Listen for a running water sound or an echo sound. If there is one then there may be Water Leaks in the line from the water main to your home. If you hear nothing then turn water on and listen again. If you hear a leak now then there may be Water Leaks in your home and they may be under your slab, if you have no basement, or in a crawl space.
These type leaks may require you to hire a professional to repair but remember to:
• Ask for bonding, insurance and license.
• Ask for References
• Ask for a quote and detail of service to be provided.
• Check them with Better Business Bureau
I ran a large utility for over 32 years and the number one complaint was high bills which in 99% of the cases were from unrepaired or undetected leaks. I have seen a single overflowing toilet run a bill as high as $600 in one month. Overflowing softeners from stuck valves as high as $800 in a month and irrigation leaks frequently topped $1000. These were hard to enforce but we had no choice and always had unhappy customers. We offered Water Leaks detection assistance to our customers so check with your local utility to see if they offer help.
Water Leaks detection goes hand in hand with an energy audit on your home. If you do your leak detection and run a simple home audit you can find your
Water Leaks and your wasted energy.
These two simple steps can save you from high utility bills and paying for wasted resources. If going green is an issue then the water leak detection and the home energy audit is your first step.
Other energy saving ideas are found at:
* Wind Energy
* Solar Energy
* Energy Star Appliances