Knowing the facts about water usage and loss can help you understand the best way to conserve water and money. The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. You are paying a minimum of $726 a year for that lost water. Save water and money by knowing the water usage and loss at your home.
For approximately $20, the average homeowner can install two low-flow shower-heads, place a toilet dam in the toilet tank, install low-flow aerators on faucets, and repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets. This could save 10,000 to more than 25,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four and would pay for itself in less than a year!
Check for leaks by visually inspecting all pipes, valves, and plumbing. Check valves, hoses and connections to all appliances (hot water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, etc.)Look for water marks on walls, ceilings or floors.
A slow dripping faucet can add up to thousands of gallons of lost water every year. (Count the number of drips per minute and visit American Water Works Association’s website to determine how much water is wasted by using their drip calculator.)
Toilets are common and large sources of water loss. Up to 7,000 gallons of water can be lost per day because of a leaking toilet ($20 to $1,300 a month in addition to your regular bill). Here are some clues to help you determine if your toilet is costing you money.
1. Listen for the toilet running.
2. Ensure the flush valve and refill valve are working properly
•Draw a pencil line on the inside of the tank at the water line
•Flush the toilet and watch the tank refill
•If the water level rises above the marked line (and then goes down afterward) the flapper is leaking.
•If the water level falls below the pencil mark (and then rises above it), there is a faulty fill valve.
3. Make sure the toilet does not have a ‘silent leak’.
•Ensure the water in the tank and bowl are clear
•Add food coloring or dye to the tank water
•Wait 30 minutes (do not use the toilet in this time period)
•If, after the 30 minutes, the water in the bowl is colored then the toilet is leaking
Check hose bibs, backflow preventers and valves for leaks and drips.
Use a pan of water or place a stopper in the sink for washing and rinsing dishes rather than turning on the water each time a rinse is needed.
Never run the dishwasher or clothes washer without a full load save water, energy, detergent, and money.
Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY or 5,000 gallons of water per month.
Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If the meter continues to turn, a leak probably exists.
Leaks in irrigation systems will not always show on meters due to separate anti siphon shut off valves. To find leaks, walk your irrigation lines and check for unusual wet spots, leaky, broken or missing sprinkler heads.
Water evaporation from pools is expected, but if you are routinely adding more than two inches of water to a pool per week, you may have a leak. Place a bucket of water next to the pool and mark the water lines in both the bucket and pool. Wait 24 hours and check the loss of both. If the pool lost more water than the bucket, then there is a leak.
Common causes of leaks could be deteriorated sealants. Ensure all fittings, valves, pumps and filters are working properly and not leaking or dripping. Turn the pump off and look closely for spraying water.
Look for sinkholes at the bottom of above ground pools where sand may have washed away. Check vinyl liners for small tears and pinholes that could be leaking.
Do not over-water your lawn. Soil can absorb only so much moisture and the rest simply runs off. One and one-half inches of water applied once a week in the summer will keep most Texas grasses alive and healthy.
Water lawns early in the morning in the hot summer months. Otherwise, much of the water used on the lawn can simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass. To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation. To further limit water loss due to evaporation, avoid watering on windy days.
Use drought resistant plants. Choose plants that have low water requirements, are drought tolerant, and are adapted to the West Texas climate.
Additional water conservation tips can be obtained by calling (432) 335-4625 or you can email us.