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Leaks in household and underground water pipes on your property can be costly and wasteful. Check for possible leaks at least once a month, whenever you suspect a leak exists, or before you travel for an extended period of time.
Video: Watch this tutorial for how to check for leaks in your home and on your property.
Periodically, check your plumbing fixtures and exposed pipes. Listen for the sound of running water - many leaks can be detected by sound as well as by sight. Even if you cannot hear or see a leak, close all water outlets (faucets and taps) and check your meter just to be on the safe side.
Pay close attention to your toilet plumbing, where leaks are often hardest to detect. A quick check can be made by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank after it has filled and quieted, and watching for its appearance in the bowl. If there is a leak, then color should appear within 15-30 minutes. Even if no leak is detected, the test should be repeated, as such leaks are often intermittent. The Board of Water Supply (BWS) also has dye tablets for detecting toilet leaks available by contacting the Communications Office at (808) 748-5041.
Perhaps the most common cause of water waste is the leaky faucet. Because a dripping faucet deceptively appears to be letting out very small amounts of water, this problem is often neglected. Yet a leaking drip that is 1/32nd of an inch wastes 25 gallons in 24 hours; one that is 1/16" wastes 100 gallons in 24 hours; and a stream of 1/8" wastes 400 gallons in a 24-hour period.
Check faucets regularly for leaks at the faucet head and seepage at the base and its connections. When a leaking faucet is found, no matter how small the leak appears to be, it may be time to replace a worn washer, which is something homeowners themselves can fix. The replacement of a simple rubber ring like this can save untold dollars in wasted water.
Check the Sprinkler System:
Automatic sprinkler systems make lawn irrigation easy. However, these timesaving devices are also susceptible to leaks! Irrigation system leaks are not always noticeable, so it is important to check the sprinkler timer, connections and heads for signs of a leak. Wet or noticeably greener spots of grass near a water sprinkler could indicate a sprinkler in need of repair. A properly maintained irrigation system will help keep your yard healthy and save water.
Checking for Underground Leaks:
Check your lawn for wet spots or areas where the grass seems greener than the rest. This may indicate a leaking underground pipe.
If a fixture or a pipe on your property is damaged, your first move should be to shut off the supply using this valve. The shutoff valve is usually located inside your property line, a few feet from the water meter.
Ensure your water shutoff valve...
- is clear of items or debris
- can be accessed when needed
- remains in good working order at all times
If you plan to leave your home empty for any length of time - on vacation, for instance - consider shutting off your water valve so that if a serious leak develops while you're gone, it will not flood the premises or run up a large water bill.