The water you purchase from the Jefferson Water Dept. is a valuable resource that should not be wasted. The only water we will ever have is what we have right now! The treatment our water goes through from its initial source until it is delivered to your home is an expensive process. Water conservation not only saves water, but it also saves energy.
Your water meter not only provides you with information about how much water you are using, but can also help you detect leaks in your household plumbing. To check for a leak you must first turn off all devices that are users of water. Watch the small black leak detector triangle or the small red dial on your water meter to see if it is moving. Watch it for at least a couple of minutes to determine if there is a leak or not. Leaks that occur within a customer's house are the responsibility of the customer.
Possible sources of wasted water
Toilets are notorious for hidden leaks. Leaks occur when the toilet is out of adjustment or when parts are worn. Most toilet leaks are at the overflow pipe or the flapper valve. If the water is flowing into the overflow tube, then the water level is too high and normally an adjustment screw can be turned to make the water refill valve stop at a lower level in the tank. However, the overflow pipe can sometimes leak below the waterline. If there is no adjustment screw, you may have to gently bend the rod attached to the float until the valve shuts the water off about a half inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Sometimes the valve is worn and will run like a leaky faucet and must be replaced.
Leaks at the flapper aren’t always easy to spot. You may check this by dispensing 3 to 4 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait approximately 15 to 30 minutes for the color to show up in the bowl. If it shows up, you probably have a leak at the flapper.
- Are you running partial loads of dishes? Wait until the dishwasher is full before running a load. Make your water (and electricity) work efficiently.
- Many washing machines use the same amount of water a load whether you have them full or have only a few items. If your machine has a water level adjustment, by all means use that feature. For the sake of efficiency, wash only full loads of laundry.
- A slow drip can add up! Most leaks, aside from toilets, are in faucets and are most commonly caused by worn washers. Check all faucets in the house once or twice a year. A good hardware or plumbing supply store will have necessary replacement parts and can probably direct you to a good instruction source, too, if you need it. Many different kinds of water-saving devices and fixtures are on the market, ranging from special reduced-flow shower heads to water-thrifty shallow-trap toilets. A variety of shower head adapters are available to cut down water use in existing fixtures.
- Do you know where your water shutoff valves are located? In newer homes, most sinks, wash basins, and toilets in the house have shutoff valves below them to turn off water to that particular fixture. The water heater also has a shutoff valve. Most bathtubs and showers do not have shutoff valves because the plumbing is usually behind the wall. Check your home carefully to locate the shutoff valves; see if they work. Most importantly, look for the main shutoff valve that turns off the entire house. It's usually located where the water pipe comes into the house. Check to see that the valve works easily. If the valve and plumbing are old and corroded, it could be difficult to turn the valve. Sometimes the valve connection could even break or spring a leak while you are trying to open or close it. If you suspect this valve needs to be replaced or there is a threat of failure, contact a plumber
- Conserving water outdoors is important too. Use common sense when watering lawns and gardens. The basic rule for lawn and garden watering is not to give them more than they need, usually about one inch per week. Don't follow a set schedule. Water only when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. Avoid watering on windy days. Water in the cool of the day, both to avoid excess evaporation and the chance of harming the lawn. Weeds are water thieves too, so keep the garden free of them. If you let water sink in slowly, the lawn will develop deeper roots and won't need watering as often. Make sure when the sprinklers are on, they cover just the lawn or garden, not sidewalks, driveways, and gutters.
Water conservation should be a way of life. Use common sense and think about this the next time you turn on a faucet.