Finding a Potential Water Leak
If you think your water bills are too high, or if you received a "potential leak notice" from the Water Department, you may want to check for leaks. Your water bill should be your lowest utility because the rates are the lowest. However, more water usage equals higher water bills. Many people are choosing to ignore notices from the Water Department about potential leaks, or just chalking a high bill up to a rate increase when they should be examining their usage.
The national average water usage per person is about 1000 gallons per month. At that rate, a family of four could expect to use approximately 4000 gallons of water per month. The average water bill in Munroe Falls, per household, is 3800 gallons per month at a cost of $43.46. If you are currently paying $60, $80, $100 or more per month, just for water, (depending on the size of your family), you should consider checking for leaks.
It’s best to consider your winter usage since most people tend to use more water in warmer weather, but every household is different. Gather your water bills, or call the water department for the information, and take a close look at your water usage. There is even a graph on your monthly statement that shows your monthly consumption. If that amount is, or has been increasing, chances or good you have a leak.
It’s also very easy to read your water meter before and after you shower, flush a toilet, wash clothes, or run the dishwasher to determine exactly how much water is actually being used for each event. The meter reads like the odometer in your car and will tell you the usage down to the tenths of gallons. The digital display on the water meter will alternate between the meter reading and the flow rate. If you aren’t using any water in your house, the flow rate should show 0.00. If there is water moving through the meter, the flow rate will show that amount at that moment. If the meter reading shows usage from one hour to the next when you haven’t used any water, you probably have a slow leak.
The highest water-using appliance in your house is the toilet. And they can leak without you even knowing it! Just because you don’t hear the toilet running, doesn’t mean it’s not leaking. You will need to dye-test your toilet to be sure. Toilets are the most likely culprit when a leak is suspected and the easiest to check and fix. The water department has toilet test dye strips, or you can use food coloring. Drop a dye strip, or enough food coloring to change the water color, in the tank of the toilet (the back). Wait 20 minutes without flushing. If any color moves from the tank to the bowl without flushing, it means you have a leak.
You should check your hot water tank for any water, or discoloration of the floor around it. If you have reverse osmosis, whole house water filtration, or an April Air system, refer to your owners’ manual or contact your installer about checking for leaks. Check any outside spigots for drips or if they are wet when you haven’t been using them. If you have a lawn irrigation system you are already using more water than most, so it’s important to have that checked annually to make sure there are no leaks. Make it a yearly habit when you have your backflow device tested (required annually for lawn irrigation systems) and have your system thoroughly checked.
We have some helpful literature and forms prepared for you your use:
Finally, if all else fails you may need to contact a plumber or leak detection service for assistance.