Checking for a water leak
Your bill may be higher than you expected. You just might have a water leak. If you suspect a water leak, there is a simple way to conduct a preliminary check before contacting us:
- Please do not turn off the valve in the meter box.
- Remove the meter box lid and write down the current meter reading.
- Do not use any water in your home for three (3) to four (4) hours.
- After the specified amount of time has lapsed, remove the lid and write down the current reading.
- If the meter reading has changed the leak would be between the meter and the house.
- Locate your shut off valve inside your home and shut water off.
- If the reading has not changed, open the shut off valve inside your home and repeat the same steps above to see if the leak is inside.
- After opening the shut off valve inside, if the meter reading changes the leak would be inside your home.
- If the reading has not changed, you do not have a leak.
- Subtract the first reading from the last to determine how much water you lost during the test. A small leak may take longer to reflect a significant difference at the meter.
- If you are not convinced with the 3 to 4 hour tests, choose a day when no one will be at home for 10 to 12 hours. Even the smallest drip should show up during this time.
If you determine a leak is present the next step is to find the location of the leak:
- First, look for a wet spot on the ground between the meter and your home.
- If no leaks were found, a thorough inspection of your pipes, lines, connections and valves under your home or in your basement, would be the next step.
- Your hot water tank could have a hole rusted in the bottom or the drain valve may be leaking.
- An inspection should also be made of your toilet tanks.
- Water can leak out by flowing over and down the overflow pipe without the tank making any noise to alert you to the problem.
- The toilet does not have to be running (filling back up) for this to happen.
- It can continue to overflow after the toilet noise has cut off.
- Sometimes the rubber stopper or plunger in the bottom of the tank will not seat or close properly causing the continual overflow and loss of water. Also inspect the chain that connects the handle lever and the rubber plunger. It may become entangled also causing the same problem.
- The round bobber-like float may also need bending down to shut the water off earlier before it runs over the overflow pipe. Again, there may be no audible sounds that will alert you to any of these problems in your toilet tank.
Frequent inspections are recommended to avoid problems. By following these simple steps, you should be successful in finding accurate results that could save you money. A leak through the following diameter hole at 60 psi will result in this much wasted water per quarter: 1/4 inch will waste 296,000 gallons 1/8 inch will waste 74,000 gallons 1/16 inch will waste 18,500 gallons 1/32 inch will waste 1,181,500 gallons.
For additional information or service, please contact the City of Longview Utilities Department at (360) 442-5099.
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