How to fix leaky faucets

Published on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 by Emily ReschBirch Bay Water and Sewer District

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How to fix leaky faucets

By Emily Resch
Birch Bay Water and Sewer District

Birch Bay Water and Sewer District and the City of Blaine are encouraging water customers to learn how to locate and read their service water meters to identify household leaks.

Indoor and outdoor water leaks can waste large amounts of water over time. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.

The water meter is an important tool used in water conservation and water system management. Both the City of Blaine and Birch Bay Water and Sewer District have fully metered water systems.

Having a fully metered water system is the best way for municipal water suppliers to accurately determine its customers’ water usage and reduce water loss from the system.

Under the new state Water Use Efficiency Rule (WUE), all municipal water suppliers must have a distribution system leakage of 10 percent or less on a rolling three-year average.

Water meters provide the data necessary for us to comply with state regulations and increase the efficiency of our water system.

Currently, the City and District meet the 10 percent or less distribution system leakage standard – around 6 percent for the city and 9 percent for the district.

Increased efficiency can expand water system capacities especially when combined with active leak detection and repair.

Reading your meter to detect leaks at home is very simple and can be done in a couple of steps:

1. Locate the water meter. Your water meter is located at either street side property corners under a square water meter box made either of plastic or concrete.
The water meter is the indicator of water use. When no water is being used, nothing on the water meter should move. Most of the water meters installed in Blaine and Birch Bay have a low-flow indicator. A low-flow indicator on the water meter is either a small black triangle or a small red round disc. The low-flow indicator will spin at very low volumes, which is common with household leaks.

2. Turn off all water. All water using items inside and outside the home should be turned off.

3. Check the meter. Watch the meter for a minute or more. There should not be any movement of the meter since no water is being used. If the low-flow indicator is spinning or the meter reading is increasing, you have a leak.

4. Locate the leak. Use the shut-off valve for your home to isolate and locate the leak.

The shut-off valve can be indoors or outdoors, but is typically located where the water line enters the home. If the main shut-off is closed and the meter has stopped, then the leak is not between the meter and the building. If the meter is still running with the main water shut-off, then the leak is between the meter and the building.
Some other tips for detecting leaks around your home include checking the crawl space under your home for wet areas and putting food coloring in the toilet tank.
If you find any discoloration in the bowl, the flapper should be replaced. A toilet is one of the main sources of residential water leaks.

For more information, call Blaine Public Works at 360/332-8820 or the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District at 360/371-7100