Be a Leak Detective
The best way to check for overall leaks is to use your water meter. Follow these simple steps to determine if you have a leak.
- Shut off all of your water-using appliances and fixtures, including the automatic ice maker in the fridge.
- Remove the lid from your meter box.* It is usually concrete or metal - about 10x15 inches. Take care not to damage the wires!
- For new meters, watch the triangle in the middle of the meter for a few minutes. In older meters, watch the 10 gallon hand. If neither moves, you don't have a leak.
- If you have a leak, you will need to play detective to find the source. The most likely culprits are toilets, faucets, showerheads, service lines and sprinkler systems.
*Please note: CRD assumes no liability for damage or injury resulting from the removal of meter lids; Customers do so at their own risk.
High volume water leaks often come from toilets. They are hard to detect and are usually caused by a worn or misaligned part. A toilet that continues to run after flushing could be wasting 20 – 40 litres per hour - that's 175,000 to 350,000 litres per year, enough water to fill a swimming pool!
To check for a toilet leak, use a dye tablet or food colouring. Carefully remove the toilet tank lid. Place a dye tablet or some food colouring in the tank. Wait about 15 minutes without flushing. After 15 minutes check the water in your toilet bowl. If the water is coloured, you've got a leak. Toilet repairs may require the assistance of a plumber. To get a dye tablet, call CRD Demand Management at 250.474.9684.
Faucets and Showerheads
Leaking faucets and showerheads are also big water wasters, but they are easier to detect than toilet leaks. Worn washers or seats are the most likely cause of leaks in these fixtures. Repairing leaky faucets is usually a straightforward and inexpensive job, but worthwhile, as a little drip can waste lots of water and dollars.
A leaking service line or pipe in your home can add up to serious water waste. A small hole in a pipe (1.5 mm) wastes 280,000 litres of water in a three-month period. That is enough water to do about 900 loads of laundry.
Whether you use an in-ground system or a single oscillating head, check it carefully for leaks. The average garden hose delivers 27 litres of water per minute, so a spilt in the hose or a poor coupling could be wasting large amounts of water. Make sure the outdoor faucet is turned off after each use, because even small drips add up to big waste. Use garden water as wisely as possible. Consider using drip irrigation, and use a watering can whenever possible.
A leak in your in-ground system is less noticeable than in a hose, and can waste even greater amounts of water. If you think your in-ground system may have a lead, check for wet patches in your lawn that do not dry. Contact your irrigation contractor for a system check-up.