While you may be mindful of your usual household water usage,
it’s important to make sure that water is not being used unknowingly.
Issues such as an unnoticed leak in plumbing or an undetected leak in an irrigation system can contribute to the increased water usage.
The easiest and most effective way to check for leaks, as well as monitor water usage, is with the water meter.
Water Meter Location
Water meters are typically located inside the property where the water line enters the building; usually in the basement or a utility closet. In older homes the water meter may be located in the garage. Some modular and mobile homes have meters located under the skirting of the structure.
Water meters are located inside the property; typically in the basement or in a utility closet.
Water Meter Information
HAWC currently utilizes two types of Neptune brand water meters; the “Analog T-10” and the “Digital E-Coder”. Refer to the images below to determine the meter at your location. HAWC reads water meters remotely using radio frequency once per month; you can read your meter any time you’d like to monitor usages.
Analog T-10 Meter:
(Click on image to enlarge)
The six digit number (appears similar to a vehicle’s odometer) on the water meter is the reading.
To the left of the meter reading is a flow indicator, a small orange triangle or diamond shape.
When the flow indicator is spinning, water is passing through the meter.
If you are not using any water in your home, this indicates a water leak.
Digital E-Coder Meter:
(Click on image to enlarge)
E-Coder meter readings are found on the LCD display screen.
E-Coder meters track continuous and intermittent water usages.
The meter’s flow indicator is an arrow shape which can be found above the meter reading.
The flow indicator shows the direction of water flow, whether water is in use or not, or if water is running slowly.
If the meter’s “Leak Indicator” (faucet symbol) is “Flashing” or stays “On Continuously”, it is indicating that leak likely exists.
Refer to “E-Coder Meter Icon Info” below for additional information.
Can’t see anything on the E-Coder meter’s LCD display screen?
E-Coder meters “sleep” to prolong the battery life of the transmitter (the black attachment with the antenna that is connected to the meter). To “wake-up” the meter shine a bright (LED if available) flashlight into the “hole” located as follows: “Example 1” next to words “T-10” written on the meter. “Example 2” next to the image of the flashlight.
Monitoring Water Usages
Here’s a simple procedure to monitor usage. Before you begin checking for leaks, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your home.
- Read the meter twice – first at night after the day’s water use has ended, and again in the morning before any water is used.
- Subtract the reading from the prior night from the second reading to tell how much water (if any) was used overnight.
- If you suspect a water leak, the plumbing should be inspected. Inspections and repairs, if necessary, should be made by a licensed plumber.
Common Causes of Water Leaks
The most common and frequent cause of increased water usage is toilets. Most toilet leaks go undetected. Toilets that run intermittently, run briefly after flushing, or run consistently at a low-flow rate for minor amounts of time are not always able to be seen or heard. Often leaks occur when the toilet is out of adjustment or parts are worn.
The best way to check for leaks is to flush the toilet, let the water refill in the bowl, then add 5-10 drops of food coloring into the tank. Wait approximately 15-30 minutes and check for colored water in the bowl and around the toilet, which would indicate a issue within the toilet.
*Source: US Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/res.html)
Leaking underground irrigation systems are the second most common source of unnoticed water leaks. A 1/4″ hole in an irrigation line can waste approximately 7,200 cubic feet (53,856 gallons) of water per month, which is equal to a cost of $361.44.
To verify water is not leaking within the irrigation lines or at a sprinkler head, shut-off the irrigation system at the control panel and check the flow-indicator on the water meter to determine if water is being used.
Common Causes of Increased Water Usage:
Besides the most common water leaks, listed above,
A drip every 2 seconds uses approximately 2.5 gals per day.
A 25′ soaker hose set for 60 psi can use approximately
2 to 6 gallons per minute.
Internal check valves can get stuck in the “open”position
and continuously use water to backwash.
In-line Cartridge Filters
|Hot Water Heaters or Heat Pumps||Water-cooled Air Conditioner or Whole-house Humidifiers|
HAWC recommends that any required repairs be completed by a licensed plumber.
And don’t forget to call Dig Safe® if a repair requires excavation – it’s the law!