Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Unusually High Water Bill?

Is your water bill unusually high? If you haven’t increased your usage significantly, you may have a water leak. There are several ways to check for a leak. One way is to check the indicator on your water meter. Make sure there is nothing inside using water. After ensuring this, go to your meter (under meter cover) and see if the usage indicator (blue dial) is turning. If it is, then water is flowing through and could indicate a leak in the water service line between the meter and your home or building. It could also indicate that water is being used inside the home or building.

To determine if you have a leak in your water service line, close off the main valve* to your home and look at your water meter. If the indicator is turning, this is an indication you have a leak in the pipe between your water meter and the main valve to your home. It could also mean that the main valve is not shutting off water completely.

If the indicator on your water meter was turning but stopped when you shut off the main valve, this indicates that something inside is using water. With the main valve open (and the indicator on the meter turning), turn off the valve to individual fixtures (toilets, sinks, etc.) one at a time. Check the indicator each time you turn off a fixture valve to see if it stops turning. If it does, the last fixture turned off is the culprit.

Toilets can often be the cause of a “mystery” water leak. Open the cover on the tank. If the water level is above the overflow tube, there is a problem. The water level should be approximately ½ inch or so below the top of the overflow pipe. Adjust the float level, so that the water is turned off at that level. If the valve controlled by the float is leaking, it may need to be replaced.

Toilet leaks can also be due to a leak at the flapper valve that lets water flow into the toilet bowl. To test for this, put a drop or two of food coloring into the tank (not the bowl). Wait about 10 minutes and see if the colored water shows up in the bowl. If it does, your flapper valve may need to be replaced. If you do not have food coloring, you can request a free leak detection kit. Email or call 646-5224.

*Usually the main water valve is located where the water supply pipe enters your home or office. It may be near your clothes washer or hot water heater. In some cases, it may be located under the house in the crawl space. Be sure to locate and mark the main water valve before you need it. That way, you will be able to find and close it quickly should a water leak occur.

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