The Alert Labs Flowie water sensor that you installed on your water meter has sent you an alert about a possible leak. It could be caused by a leaky toilet or faucet, water softener, hot water heater, exterior hose, malfunctioning washing machine or many other things. So, what should you do next? According to the City of Guelph, it’s pretty straightforward and easy.
First, locate the ‘low flow indicator’ on the face of your water meter – the low flow indicator is usually a small red or black triangle or dial on the face of the meter. Ensure there is no water being used in the home by turning off all faucets and water using appliances. Then check if the indicator is turning, moving or shaking. If it is, this means that water is flowing the meter and there is a leak somewhere.
Toilets are by far the most common source of home water leakage. First, remove the lid from the toilet tank. Look and listen for obvious leakage (e.g. water running into overflow, or out of the bottom of the tank). If noise is detected but no visible water moving, chances are that water is leaking through the flapper (located at the bottom of the tank, activated when flushing).
Use the “dye test” to check for toilet flapper leakage. Carefully remove the toilet tank cover. Drop a leak detector tablet or a few drops of coloured food dye into the tank. Wait a few minutes and then check the water in the toilet bowl. If the coloured dye has seeped into the water in the bowl, without having flushed the toilet, there is a leak.
Check all water faucets and valves for leaks (inside and outside). Washers or cartridges may need replacing. Check to make sure no faucets have been left running.
On your water softener check for overflow and any possible leaks. Check settings to see how many times a week the softener is regenerating and whether it is running efficiently. Put the water softener on bypass and see if your water meter stops running.
Other places to look for potential leaks are near the hot water heater, the humidifier mounted on your furnace or a malfunctioning washing machine or dishwasher. Outside, you should check whether the sprinkler system is malfunctioning or if your hose is leaking somewhere.
It’s worth tracking down water leaks and fixing them. The EPA says that an ongoing dripping faucet can waste 11,000 L of water a year which is the equivalent of over 70 loads of laundry, or 290 five-minute showers.
Water is one of those things in our daily lives that we take for granted. It’s always there and available when we need it. Almost 65 per cent of our bodies are made of it and we’re constantly losing water when we sweat, go to the bathroom and breathe. We can survive around two weeks without food but only three or four days without water.
The average Canadian family of four uses about 1000 L of water every day and the average American family around 1500 L.