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It is important to determine and correct the problem, because wasted water results in high bills. One way to check if you have a problem is to write down the six-digit number off the water meter (usually located in the basement of the house) before you go to bed at night. The following morning, go to the water meter and compare the readings. If the meter has moved while you were sleeping, that indicates something is using water. A more immediate check involves the red dial on the water meter. When the dial is spinning, water is going through the meter. The red dial should be still when there is no water usage.
Since the meter readings are obtained from the remote reader located outside the house, the potential for a misread exists if there is a problem with the hard wiring to the water meter in the basement or with the remote reading devices. Misreads occur on an extremely rare basis. The letter “A” following the “Current Read” on your bill indicates an actual read. To verify the reading shown on your bill, compare it to the reading on your water meter in the basement. The reading that you take (first 4 digits reading left to right) should be greater than the “Current Read” from the bill. If you subtract the bill’s “Current Read” amount from the reading you took, it will measure the amount of water consumed since the end date of the “Service Period” also shown on the bill.
Tips for efficient lawn and landscape irrigation are as follows:
• To minimize evaporation, water lawns between midnight and 5:00 AM during the hottest summer months. Utilize sprinkler rain shutoff devices to avoid unnecessary watering.• Review sprinkler manufacturer specifications for gallons per minute usage in order to establish irrigation guidelines within your household budget for water consumption.• Irrigate lawns for a maximum of 20 minutes per zone every other day during drought periods and much less for landscape beds. Frequent over watering can actually be detrimental to your lawn and landscapes. • Be observant for breaks in underground lines or sprinkler heads that may contribute to a system leak.• Mow your grass at a height of approximately three inches or higher and use a mulching blade so that the clippings act as a natural fertilizer and also hold in moisture.• Use a larger part of your yard for landscape beds as opposed to lawn area. Landscape beds require far less irrigation than lawns.• Use plenty of mulch in your landscape beds to hold in moisture and plant deep-rooted flowers and shrubs that are more drought resistant.• Follow the voluntary odd-even date watering system. Residents with odd numbered addresses are asked to water outdoors only on the odd numbered calendar dates, while homeowners with even numbered addresses should limit outdoor water use to even numbered calendar dates. Use the last number in your address to determine if you have an even or odd numbered address. Water during the non-peak hours of midnight through 5:00 AM.
Home maintenance ideas include:
• Periodically inspect the flush valve and overflow valve in all the toilets. A test is done by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank and waiting approximately 25 minutes, without flushing the toilet. If you see the food coloring seep into the bowl, a toilet leak is confirmed. Sometimes a “shimmer” on the surface of the toilet bowl water will be evident and is another way to confirm that there is a leak.
The flush valve or “flapper” located in the bottom of the toilet tank will eventually wear out and require replacement. Upon replacing the flapper, be sure to have it properly seat against the contact at the bottom of the tank.
Check the overflow valve for the correct water level in the tank by removing the tank lid and verifying that the water level is approximately one inch below the overflow valve. Always make sure that the water in the tank is not running into the overflow tube. Normally, the arm of the ball float can be adjusted in order to bring the water level to the desired height. Check the positioning of the refill tube in relation to the overflow tube to ensure that there is no siphoning effect when the tank is refilling.
• During remodeling or toilet replacement consider the use of 1.8-gallon low flow toilets, which use approximately half the water per flush compared to the conventional types.• Install aerators on water faucets and showerheads.• Purchase water efficient washing machines and dishwashers and operate with only full loads.• Routinely inspect water back-up sump pumps and repair dripping faucets.• Inspect the furnace humidifier overflow valve for excessive water flow (if equipped).