Malfunctioning appliances are often the source of high water bills; it is recommended that you check all appliances that use water to insure they are operating correctly. Some suggested items to check:
Water Softeners – Make sure they are cycling properly. Since they are typically located in the basement you may not realize that they are cycling improperly. This problem will most likely not be apparent by viewing the water meter; you will need to check the settings in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Toilets – Leaking gaskets in toilet tanks are not readily apparent by monitoring your water meter. A leaking gasket will cause the toilet tank to slowly empty and then refill. To check your gasket, remove the lid from the tank of the toilet and add a colorant (food coloring, grape juice, etc.) to the water. Replace the lid, do not flush the toilet. In approximately 30 minutes check the toilet bowl, if the water in the bowl has changed color then you have a leak in the gasket or a gasket that is not sealing properly. Toilets where you frequently have to jiggle the handle to get them to stop filling should be repaired.
Make sure all water using appliances are operating correctly, again much like a water softener you may not realize there is a problem because of the location of the appliance. Some common water using appliances include, humidifiers, boilers, dishwashers, water cooled air conditioners, water purification systems, irrigation systems and washing machines.
Using Your Water Meter to Check for Leaks
Leak Detection – Older Meters Using Low Flow Indicator
Older meters are equipped with a low-flow indicator that may assist you in determining if you have a leak in the home. On the bottom right of the meter register is a red pointer. This is the low flow indicator and is primarily for your use. This indicator allows you to check for small leaks. Small leaks can lead to high water bills.
To check for leaks within your home using the low flow indicator, do the following;
- Make sure all your water faucets are off.
- Inspect the water meter, if the low flow indicator turns or twitches there is water passing through the meter. Check all other water using devices in the home and outside to see if water is running. If you find running water turn it off or allow the appliance to complete the cycle, once you have determined there is no water running check the indicator again.
- If you verify that no water is running and the indicator is still moving you have a leak somewhere in your home. It is recommended that you take immediate action to determine leak location and make the appropriate repairs.
Leak Detection – New Digital Meter
Your water meter is equipped with a digital read out, please be sure to close the lid tightly when you are not trying to read the meter. The digital read out is in cubic feet and reads to the thousandths. You can check your meter reading and monitor your usage. If you have no water running in the home the numbers on the digital read should not advance, it may take some time to monitor your meter to determine if you have a leak, you would want to verify no water is being used and check the meter reading every 5 minutes or so over the course of an hour, again remember to close the lid tightly when you are done getting a reading.
To check for leaks using the digital register do this:
- Make sure all water faucets and other water using devices are off.
- Inspect the water meter; if the number advances water is passing through the meter. Check all water using devices in the home and outside to see if water is running somewhere. If you find running water turn if off or allow the appliance to complete the cycle, once you have determined there is no water running check the read out again.
- If you verify than no water is running and the read out is advancing you have a leak somewhere in your home. It is recommended that your take immediate action to determine the leak location and make the appropriate repairs.
Request a Leak Adjustment
If you have experienced a water leak on your property within the last 12 months and it was repaired within the past 60 days, you may be eligible for an adjustment to the sewer portion of your bill.
Examples of when an adjustment to the sewer portion of your bill may be approved:
- Underground service line leak
- Water leaks in a basement or crawl space that drain to the exterior of the building
Adjustments will NOT be approved for:
- Malfunctioning toilets
- Leaking faucets, valves or sump pumps (including outside water spigots)
- Appliances (Ex. water softener, ice maker/water line, etc.)
Please follow these simple steps to request a leak adjustment:
- Make sure all sources of the leak(s) are repaired.
- Send a letter telling us about the leak.
- Provide an invoice or receipt and pictures documenting the repairs made to the leak.
- Repairs not made by a licensed plumber should include as much documentation as possible, including copies of receipts for materials purchased for the repair(s). Note: All repairs not made by a licensed plumber will require an investigation by our department to determine eligibility.
Requests for leak adjustments must be submitted within 60 days of the water leak repair to be considered. Your request will be reviewed and you will be notified via letter of our determination.
While your leak adjustment request is being processed, you are responsible for paying the entire amount due on your account within the normal payment period; or you may request a payment arrangement by calling the Utility Billing Department before the due date of the bill. If entering into a payment arrangement, all subsequent bills must be paid on time.