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Household plumbing maintenance issues can seem like just an irritating thing that you might get to sometime. But every drip drip drip of water that goes down the drain is water that you pay for each month. A leaky faucet or toilet that runs can add up to gallons and gallons of water every month literally down the drain.

Finding, Fixing and Preventing Water Leaks

Most leaks are easy to find, but some can go undetected. If you know what to look for, it’s not difficult to identify water leaks before they turn into bigger and more expensive headaches. It’s the leaks that aren’t obvious that often produce the biggest issues. If your bathtub or shower is leaking, you’re going to recognize that quickly and take steps to fix it. The hidden problems, people don’t know to fix. As a result, they tend to worsen over time.

Some Interesting Facts and Statistics:

The typical family uses about 70% of their water in the bathroom. This is partly because water is used at a faster “flow rate” in the bathroom than in any other area of the home.

Toilets and showers have a flow rate of 5-7 gallons per minute; dishwashers and clothes washers use less than three gallons per minute.

Toilet……………………5 to 7 gallons per flush (Non low-flow toilet)

Shower…………………5 to 7 gallons per minute (Non low-flow shower)

Bathtub………………..36 to 60 gallons per bath

Dishwasher…………..10 to 25 gallons per cycle
Washing machine….20 to 45 gallons per load

Total Home Water Usage:

Outdoor Use 60%

Indoor Use 40%

Kitchen 10%

Other 5%

Indoor Water Usage:

Bathroom 70%

Laundry 15%

Stop The Leaks!

Why is my water bill high so high?

Is your water bill mysteriously high? Have you ever heard your toilet run make funny noises? Does your toilet flush randomly throughout the day and night? The problem is that water is being flushed unnecessarily down the drain, so you are potentially wasting hundreds of gallons of water and over the course of time hundreds of dollars as well.

A high water bill may indicate you have a leak. Even a small leak can waste enough water for you to notice an increase on your bill. If there is a leak anywhere within your plumbing system, you must pay for the water used. Fix your leaks promptly to avoid paying for them each month.

Did you know?

  • A 1/4″ leak wastes 393,833 gallons* in one month.
  • A 3/16″ leak wastes 222,000 gallons* in one month.
  • A 1/8″ leak wastes 98,666 gallons* in one month.
  • A 1/16″ leak wastes 24,666 gallons* in one month.(*at 60 pounds of pressure)

Preventing Water Waste is Everyone’s Job

Some water leaks, such as a dripping faucet, are obvious. Other water leaks can be virtually invisible, such as a leaky toilet flapper valve or a leaky irrigation pipe in your yard. While this is not intended to address major plumbing problems, it is designed to give you an overview of how preventive maintenance and diligent repair are important aspects of water conservation. By following a little advice, you’ll be able to conserve water while you help keep your pipes, plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances in top shape.

Water conservation shouldn’t be something we think about only sometimes. As the competition for our most precious natural resource grows, let’s make conserving water an everyday part of life in Minnesota.

Here are some ideas to help find water leaks in your home.

Toilets

  • Listen and look for running water.
  • Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If color shows up in the bowl within ten minutes, the valve or support assembly may need to be replaced.
  • See if the ball valve drops squarely into the drain opening. If not, clean it out or replace the ball valve if it is worn.
  • Check the flush handle to see if it is stuck in the flush position
  • Bend the float arm to lower the water level to at least one-half inch below the top of the overflow tube
  • Replace the overflow tube if it has holes below the water level

Faucets, Bathtubs and Showers

  • Replace worn gaskets and washers
  • Replace washer-less faucets
    Tighten waterline connections and valves

Air Conditioner/Humidifier

  • Check for water leaks.

Water Heater

Keep an eye on your water heater. Check the silver plate mounted on the water heater, which includes manufacturer information. Look for evidence of leaks around the pipes and at the base of the water heater, as well as rust on any of the parts.

  • Replace the pressure and temperature valve, if leaking.
  • Tighten the drain valve

Water Softener

  • Look for water drips underneath or in back of the machine
  • Listen for running water
  • Contact you water softener representative for service and repair information.

Dishwasher/Clothes Washer

  • Look for water drips or stains underneath or in back of the machine.

Water Service Connection

  • Look for drips or wet areas in the crawl space
  • Place a screwdriver on the service line and listen. No noise means water is not running.

Outside Faucets

  • Replace worn gaskets and washers

Sprinkler System

  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets to protect against freeze damage.
  • Winterize your sprinkler system according to the system’s instructions
  • Check for any damage to sprinkler heads.
  • Make sure that all drain plugs are closed

Need help?

  • If you think you have a leak but can’t find one, call the Utility Office to perform a leak test. If the meter is found to be faulty it will be replace at no charge but a service fee will be charged if there are no problems with the meter. If the fault is not the meters, you may need to call a plumber.

If you do not have a water leak and your bill seems high, consider these questions:

  • Did you use more water keeping the grass green?
  • Did you go on vacation and leave someone else in charge of your lawn watering?
  • Do you have an automatic sprinkler system with a broken head?
  • Have you put in a new lawn, sprinkler system or pool recently?
  • Were your children playing with the water?
  • Did you do extra loads of laundry before or after a vacation?
  • Did you have friends or relatives staying with you?

Just because you don’t see any water doesn’t mean that there isn’t a leak. Drip! Drip! Drip! That small little irritation that keeps you up at night will never go away unless you fix it. Even a small drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day, or 5,000 gallons per month.

Prevention Is Best… But When Prevention Isn’t Enough, Call The Professionals!

Do it yourself or if you are not sure how to repair this type of leak you should call a Minnesota plumber to avoid any further problems or before the leak gets worse.

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