Do-It-Yourself Leak Detection Tips
Why is my bill so expensive?
Before you assume that your meter hasn't been read, stop to take the following into consideration:
The Berryville Water Department DOES NOT estimate meters unless it is an extreme emergency. Before your bill is mailed to you, it has been inspected TWICE for errors. Of course we will not catch them all, but we try!
The following situations can cause an enormous amount of water usage, especially if left unrepaired:
The most common culprit!
A constantly running toilet can cause tens of thousands of gallons to pass through your meter over the course of a month. If you know your toilet is leaking, fix it immediately! The following tips can help you determine if this is your high-usage problem:
1. Place a dye tablet, food coloring, milk, half & half, or milk of magnesia into a toilet tank full of water. Wait for a few minutes and see if it seeps down into the bowl area. If it does, you will need to repair or replace the flapper valve.
2. If you have a two-piece toilet (separate tank and bowl), take some toilet paper and work it into the open area between the tank and bowl and check for water prior to and after flushing. If it is dry prior to flushing, recheck again after flushing. If it is wet, this will denote a leak during the flush cycle.
3. Turn on all of the faucets one by one, and, while the water is running move the faucet handle back and forth. Look for water leakage around the valve stem and faucet spout.
4. Look at walls where water pipes stick out. Look for discoloration, moisture and sponginess.
5. Hopefully your hot water heater is equipped with a safety relief valve (temerature/pressure valve). Be sure to check the exit end of the valve or valve piping for leaks or drips. If the valve is equipped with a hand operated check lever, flush the valve ONLY if it is piped to a safe area that will not run water onto floors or walls. The valve should not leak; if it does, replace it.
6. To check for concealed leaks, try the following:
A. Check all faucets inside and outside of the home to make sure they are all off. Go to your water meter with paper and a pencil and write down the numbers on the dial. Wait an hour and do not use any water during this wait. Go back out to the water meter and take note of the numbers again. If they have changed, you have a leak.
B. Again, with all faucets off, take a large, regular screw driver (preferable 10" or longer) and firmly place it on the hot or cold side of any faucet. Place your ear on the plastic handle and listen for water noise. You can repeat this test on all exposed pipes, fittings, valves and faucets (both hot and cold). This brief test will help you hear the sound of moving water if you have a leak. The sound of water moving is very noticeable. The pipes and fittings should have no sound if there is no leak.