Types of Water Loss
Toilets are the most common source of water loss
Water loss from toilets isn’t always loud or noticeable. And you can’t always SEE or HEAR a toilet that is losing water
There are two main causes of toilet water loss:
The flapper valve should create a water tight seal to keep water in the tank for the next flush. When the Flapper Valve, or “Flapper” is old or positioned incorrectly, water continuously leaks into the bowl, and the toilet continues to fill the tank creating a never ending cycle. This type of water loss can be anywhere from 30-4,000 gallons per day!
Adjust the chain on your flapper, or replace the entire flapper. Flappers are very inexpensive, and can be purchased at any home improvement store. Instructions are typically included on the packaging.
Float/water level needs adjustment:
When you flush your toilet, water empties from the tank into the bowl. The float in your tank falls as water exits the tank, activating the refill valve. As water begins to refill the tank, the float rises, and stops the refill at the appropriate time (preventing your bathroom from flooding!) The overflow tube exists to capture any extra water in the event that the refill valve isn’t triggered to stop. If the float needs to be adjusted, water will flow into the overflow tube. The water level in the tank should always be about an inch from the top of the overflow tube.
If your toilet has a float arm, use the adjustment screw on top of the fill valve to raise or lower the float arm. Older float arms may not have an adjustment screw and should probably be replaced with a newer fill valve.
To adjust the water level on toilets with float cylinders, squeeze the float clip to release the float cylinder and slide up or down to adjust the water level in the toilet tank.
There are a few ways you can check for water loss
LISTEN: If your toilet is making noise after the tank refills following a flush, your flapper may be letting water into the tank. Or, water may be overflowing into the overflow tube.
LOOK: If you see ‘ripples’ in the bowl, water flowing into the bowl when the toilet isn’t being used, it’s likely that the flapper is not doing its job.
TEST: Come by ECCV for toilet dye tabs OR use dark colored food coloring that you already have in your home. Remove the lid from the tank of the toilet, and drop the tabs or food coloring into the tank. Close the tank lid and wait 10-15 minutes. Make sure the toilet isn’t flushed during this time! Check the bowl for color. If there is color in the bowl, your flapper is in need of replacing. The color indicates that the water that should be held in reserve in your toilet tank is leaking into the bowl. Replacing a flapper is easy, and can be done in minutes.
Leaky faucets may show signs of dripping, corrosion, or mineral build up in the sink, shower head or outside hose bibs. Look for corrosion or mineral build up
Regarding your water heater, the pressure relief valve is usually a small valve located on the side of a water heater tank, with a copper pipe running down the side of the tank to the floor, and typically has a 90 degree bend and extends to a floor drain. This valve normally does not drain too often. Frequent or continuous draining could indicate a problem and a professional plumber should be consulted.
Other Household Appliances
Icemakers, dishwashers, clothes washers, whole house humidifier systems and swamp coolers may have exits for water flow or drains that might not be easily observed. These appliances may be working as intended but still indicating a potential leak.
Lawn irrigation systems, ponds, fountains, pools, or hot tub leaks can be costly and aren’t always visible.
- Run your irrigation system and check each cycle for broken sprinkler heads, loose connections and swampy areas.
- Check valves, especially solenoid valves that may be stuck partially open. Often, water may leak undetected directly into the ground and may not be observed at the surface.
- Ponds with self filling water valves may have a leak in the liner causing the fill valve to stay open more than desired or almost continuously.
- Check fountains or self contained recycling steams with automatic fill valves.
- A leak in the walls or lining of a swimming pool could cause a significant loss of water. Evaporation on hot days could also result in high water usage. Explore the use of a cover by consulting your pool supply expert.
- Most hot tubs include evaporation and heat loss covers which you will want to use as often as possible. If you need to add water to a hot tub regularly you may have an undetected leak. Consult your hot tub professional.
Winterizing Your System
Freezing temperatures can cause pipes and your backflow preventer to freeze and burst. We recommend the following steps to winterize your home:
- Blow out your sprinkler system, drain excess water from the backflow preventer and shut off the irrigation supply valve in the fall.
- Detach all hoses from outside spigots. Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets to reduce the chance of water freezing in pipes.
- Insulate pipes in your crawl spaces, attics, and basements. Exposed pipes are the most susceptible to freezing. The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be. Seal leaks that allow cold air near your pipes.
Backflow Preventer/Vacuum Breaker
Blackflow preventers are also known as a pressure vacuum breakers, your backflow allows water to flow from your household water supply to fill your sprinkler system, and prevents water from flowing from your sprinkler system back into your household water supply. This prevents fertilizer, chemicals and residual water that seep into your sprinkler heads from flowing back into your household water supply.
What is an Irrigation Shut-off Valve?
An irrigation shut-off valve is a handle or knob on the water line in your house that opens and closes the water supply to your irrigation system. This supply valve is generally located on a lateral pipe that leads away from the main vertical supply pipe. The line should be shut off and winterized before freezing weather in order to prevent water from freezing and cracking your irrigation equipment.
When the Temperature Drops
During cold spells, let a trickle of water run from faucets that might freeze. Letting warm water drip overnight from a faucet on an outside wall may prevent a frozen pipe. Open cabinet doors to heat pipes under sinks and near appliances. Set the thermostat no lower than 55° F.
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, shut off all water at the main shut off valve , turn the water faucets on and contact a plumber. Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or open flame, although a hair dryer may work. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe. Don’t use electrical appliances near water because this could result in an electric shock and you could be electrocuted.
Advanced Leak Troubleshooting
All homes are equipped with a water meter and a leak indicator. If the meter is located in the basement of your home, the leak indicator is readily available. If it is in a meter pit outside of your home, you will want to contact our office and request a leak check.
How Do I Shut Off My Water?
To shut off your water, use the main shut off valve. Generally it is located in the basement and has a handle or knob on the water line entering your home. It is typically located on a vertical pipe that is fed by the service line from the street to your home. Please note, fire protection sprinkler systems will be deactivated when you shut off your water.
Requesting a Leak Adjustment
Please complete our leak adjustment form to be considered for a leak adjustment. All forms must be submitted within 3 months of the detected leak. If approved, customer must accept or decline the adjustment in writing within 15 days of notification. If no response is made by the customer in the allotted time the request for adjustment will no longer be valid or accepted. Please submit with the leak adjustment form an invoice showing the leak has been fixed For more information, please contact our office at 303.693.3800.
Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs) are a type of valve installed in the plumbing of homes to regulate water pressure. The purpose of a PRV is to reduce incoming water pressure from ECCV Water’s water mains to a pressure that is safe for a home’s plumbing system. The PRV provides water pressure consistency throughout the community. PRVs are also a water conservation tool. By avoiding higher than required pressure, water is conserved. A PRV is typically installed at the water service entry point to the home after the first shutoff valve.
According to the ECCV Water and Sewer Standard Specifications, all water service lines shall have a PRV installed, but a PRV is not required if water main pressure is less than 80 pounds per square inch (psi).The static pressure should be no greater than 70 psi. Most residential PRVs have an operating range between 25-75 psi, and are preset at the factory at about 45 psi.
Symptoms include a sudden loss of or a gradual reduction in water pressure within the home for no apparent reason and/or a banging or high pitched whistling sound coming from the pipes usually when the water is being turned off. PRVs may also fail in the open position providing higher than desired pressures. Typically there is no indication this may have occurred other than noticeably higher pressure at the faucet or toilets that continue to run after the bowl is filled.
Most PRVs can be adjusted to accommodate individual needs. Since each PRV is slightly different, you may need to check the Internet and get information about your PRV from the manufacturer’s website. Helpful information and video instructions may also be found on YouTube; search on ‘Adjusting home PRV’ or similar search terms, such as How to Adjust a Water Pressure Reducing Valve.
The PRV is part of the home’s plumbing and is owned by the homeowner. A new PRV can be purchased at most hardware or home supply stores. Another option is to contact a plumber to have a new PRV installed.
Our staff will, upon request, perform a pressure check at no charge to the customer. If you would like to have your pressure checked, please call our staff at 303.693.3800, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.