Be A Leak Detective
Unfixed leaks can drip thousands of gallons of water wastefully down the drain. Catch the leaks and save. An average family of four used 225 gallons per day, outdoor water use can double or triple this amount.
According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 20% of household toilets leak. Each leaky toilet can waste hundreds of gallons per day and significantly increase your water and sewer bill. It's important to check your toilet periodically. Bathrooms account for 73% of all water used in the home. Most toilet leaks are at the overflow pipe. Lift the tank lid and check the height of the water level. It should be about 1/2 inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If it is too high, gently bend the ball arm downward a little. Make sure the arm is not dragging on the overflow pipe and it is free to float up and shut off the refill valve. Another simple test is one for silent leakage around the plunger-ball or flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank, wait about 15 minutes, and look into the bowl. If the food coloring shows up there, your toilet has a leak. Try cleaning the tank bowl and plunger-ball or flapper valve. If this doesn't work replace the parts.
Worn washers or o-rings are a common cause of faucet leaks. just a slow drip can add up to 170 gallons a day, while a 1/16-inch leak wastes 600 gallons in 24 hours! A 1/8-inch leak wastes 2,500 gallons in 24 hours. That would add over $800.00 to your monthly bill! Many leaks are outside faucets with hoses.
If you have a water softener it may be the problem, also a humidifier on a furnace can cause problems. Locate the master water supply and label it. It can easily be turned off in case of a major leak or broken pipe.
You can find out how much of a leak you have by reading your meter. Make sure every fixture and water appliance is shut off. Look at your meter. If it is turning you have a leak. To determine the size of the leak, write down your reading. After an hour or so, read your meter again. Subtract the first reading from the second and you'll know how much water has been used.
A washing machine uses 32-59 gallons of water per cycle. Make sure you have a full load to save on water.