Water is a precious commodity whether you live in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” or in the Southwest desert. And a water leak can run up your water bill and cost you hundreds of dollars a year without you even realizing it.
Some leaks go undetected for years, especially in vacation homes that are only occupied several months a year, which is very typical in sunny Arizona.
A common example of a hidden leak is in the underground irrigation system outside the home. You can’t see the leak and unless there is water pooling in a specific area, you can’t determine that there’s even a problem. So what’s the answer?
An easy, infallible leak detection test that you can do on your own is to observe the sweep hand on your analog water meter. First locate your water meter which may be out by the road or curb in a concrete box. Next, make sure no water is being used and all water-using devices are turned off such as your pool refill, icemaker refill, reverse osmosis or water softener regeneration systems. Then watch the sweep hand, which will look like a second hand on a watch, and if it is moving you have a leak.
If you have a digital display (LCD) meter, you will shine a flash light to activate the meter and then just observe the flow rate for at least 10 flashes. During that period, if the number is greater than zero on any of the flashes, you have a continuous leak.
Did you know? The EPA states that the average household wastes more than 10,000 gallons a year due to water leaks.
But what about the pesky little leaks that aren’t continuous but build and then release? Well, once again, you will want to make sure all water-using devices are off as before and know how to read your meter in understanding the measurement Gallons Used. Most utility companies provide an on-line guide or printed pamphlet if you need some help. Read your meter and record the number, wait 20 minutes, and reread the meter. Subtracting the first read from the second. If you have a number that reflects Gallons Used, you have a slow leak.
The good news is that most leaks are easy to find and fix on your own. There are many DIY repair resources that provide water-saving tips and landscaping guidelines.
The City of Scottsdale has a Water Conservation Office that fields questions and can assist you with invaluable information about your water bill. Give them a call at 480-312-5650 for more information.
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255