Water Leaks and Headaches

BY  ON APRIL 17, 2024

George Skidis says if you have ever had a high water bill you know how frustrating tracking down the issue can be. We have and tracking down leaks in a mobile home park is excruciating. Click here to read more.

According to Illinois American Water a typical household leaks almost 10,000 gallons of water every year. That is enough water to wash 300 loads of laundry.

Here are some tips to help you figure things out.

  1. Locate and red tag the main shut off in the house. Teach ever family member or tenant where it is to shut things down in an emergency
  2. Have the water company come out to read your meter. Turn off the main shutoff in the house and ask them if the meter is still moving. If it is still moving you either have a bad shut off value or there is a leak in the yard outside your building between the meter and the foundation. Replacing or repacking a shut off is an inexpensive option. To see if it is the shut off open the kitchen and bathroom sinks. If the water in the pipes drains out the leak is in the yard. If the water never stops running you have a bad shut off.
  3. Check all of your faucets for drips. A leaky faucet can waste over 3000 gallons a year.
  4. The outside faucet for the garden hose is a likely culprit. The outside faucet is known by several names; garden faucet, freezecock, sillcock, spigot, hydrant, bell valve and anti-siphon spigot to name a few. If somebody left the hose attached over the winter that faucet could not drain when the temperature dropped below freezing. The pipe behind it may have frozen inside your foundation. Once it thaws there can be a pinhole leak or a geyser. Make sure to disconnect the garden hose before the first freeze. Go into your basement or crawlspace to check for this leak.
  5. A worn-out ballcock can slip and slip all night and pump water down the overflow tube. There are several types available today from the original float valve type to the modern universal fill valve in all their variations. Before you go the expense of replacing the ballcock, try replacing the $3 rubber flapper first and see if that is causing the leak.
  6. Washing machine supply and drain line. If you find water under or around your washing machine, be it clothes or dish type, you need to check the supply lines and the drain lines for leaks and loose connections. Although your insurance policy covers water damage they do not cover continuous and repeated seepage, and they will not pay for the repairs to the washing machine unless it Is damaged by Fire, Lightning or some other named peril.
  7. Another way to check for leaks is to turn off all equipment, machines, televisions, radios and whatever else you have that makes noise and just listen. That may also include sending your spouse and children to grandma’s house for the day but get things quiet and listen. If you hear water running, there just might be a problem.
  8. Leaky tub spouts and shower heads. This one almost sounds ridiculous. Water is supposed to come out of the shower head and tub spout. What you are looking for is water coming out at the wrong time. If you pull up the diverter on the tub spout you should only have water coming out of the shower head. If it comes out of both the buildup of corrosion in the tub spout may be preventing the diverter from sealing properly. This wastes a couple of gallons of water each shower. As long as it is not too far gone, you can remove the tub spout and soak it in full strength vinegar for 24 hours or so. If you can’t remove it try a plastic bag and a rubber band to tie it over the spout securely. After 24 hours the vinegar should have loosened or removed the corrosion and hard water deposits. Following up and scrubbing with a retired toothbrush should finish the job.
  9. The last tip is to challenge the water bill if you have checked everything and can’t find a leak. We were successful in this one time and saved over $1,000 in the process. Water meters and readers do make mistakes, occasionally.

Good Luck and Good Investing!

George Skidis is President and Founder of Illinois REIA

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  • Hamza Ashfaq
    published this page in Updates 2024-06-11 05:48:35 -0600