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Use Your Water Meter to Detect Leaks

faucet slowly dripping waterHave you found yourself with unnaturally high water bills that can’t be explained? It stands to reason that your water bills will fluctuate somewhat from month to month depending on your use. However, when your utilities skyrocket for no apparent reason, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s going on with your plumbing system.

Even the smallest plumbing leaks can waste a significant amount of water—in fact, according to the US EPA, a faucet leaking at just one drop per second wastes 3,000 gallons of water per year! But you may have that “small” of a leak anywhere in your water line, including places you can see such as the pipes that run underneath your slab to the ones behind your walls.

So what if you suspect you do have a leak? Is there anything you can do? When it comes down to it, the best thing to do is give our team a call so we can perform professional Durham, NC leak detection services. In the meantime though, the following may help you determine on your own if you have any reason to be concerned about a leak.

First, Shut Off Your Water

The first thing to do in order to try to detect a leak on your own is to shut off all the water throughout your home. We don’t typically recommend using the main shut-off valve, because this won’t help you find a leak coming from a pipe within your home. Rather, you’ll want to do a thorough check of anything that uses water.

Be sure to let everyone in the household know what you’re doing so that they don’t use any faucets or toilets while you’re checking for a leak. Ensure every fixture and appliance is off, including systems that might run automatically. Fixtures that are often forgotten include:

  • Irrigation Systems
  • Water Filters with Automatic Backflow Cleaning
  • Dishwashers
  • The Ice Maker in your Refrigerator

Reading Your Water Meter

Now is the time to check your meter to see if there is a flow indicator. This is a small rotating dial that moves even if there is only a small amount of water flowing. If all your plumbing fixtures are off, and the wheel is still moving, then you have a leak.

However, keep in mind that this will not tell you how much water is leaking, or where that leak is coming from. If you want to find out whether it’s an excessive amount of water or if your water meter doesn’t have a flow indicator, you’ll have to get a little mathematical.

Write down the number you read on your dial or use a permanent marker to track it. Check again after an hour (without using any plumbing fixtures at that time). The difference is read in gallons or cubic feet. Cubic feet can be translated into gallons by multiplying the number by 7.48. This is how much your plumbing system is leaking per hour.

Time to Call in a Plumber

As we mentioned above, detecting a leak on your own will not help you determine where the leak is coming from. Sometimes there are tell-tale signs, such as moist spots on your property or the sound of running water coming from behind a wall. But for the most part, you’ll need a pro with the right type of equipment to determine exactly what’s going on.

Contact One Call Plumbing today for your plumbing needs.

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