Utility Department

Plumbing Tips

Repair leaky faucets.
At one drop per second, a leaky faucet wastes more than 3,000 gallons of water in a year. Most leaks are easily repaired with basic know-how and simple tools. Good reference books and articles are available, and hardware store and home center staff can be very helpful - and the cost of a plumber may be minor compared to the costs of damage.

Listen and watch for toilet leaks.
Many can be heard. To test for "flapper" leaks, put a coloring agent (food coloring, egg dye or other water-soluble color) in the toilet tank and check to see whether any of the color leaks into the toilet bowl within ten minutes. Flapper replacement is the most common remedy for such leaks. Check float ball assemblies for corrosion of metal components that may prevent the shutoff of water refilling the tank so that it runs over into the overflow pipe; such leaks won't show in a dye test but can cause great water loss.

Install backflow prevention devices
This is important to do on outdoor faucets, sprinkler system, and laundry tubs, or any other threaded faucet. These devices, available in most hardware stores, prevent possible contamination by reversing flow of products used in the home or garden into the water distribution system.

Install water-saving devices.
Aerators for kitchen and bath taps, flow regulators for showerheads and toilet tanks, and displacement devices reduce the amount of water used in older toilets and can make significant reductions in water used. Use automatic shut-off attachments on hoses, and don't let the water run unnecessarily while washing the car or for other outdoor uses.

Use the most efficient settings.
Adjust temperature and drying settings for dishwashers and clothes washing machines. Full loads are often the most efficient. When it's time to replace appliances, consider water efficiency in your choice.

Turn off the tap.
Don't let the tap water run when not actively rinsing your toothbrush or razor.

Change your thinking.
Think of practicesand habits that might be changed to make a difference. Can showers be shorter? Sidewalks and driveway swept rather than hosed off?

Electrical energy is needed to pump water from the reservoir and send it to our homes and work places. Conserving energy and water is critical during electrical power shortages. When it's time to replace appliances, purchase more energy-efficient and water-efficient ones. Activities that use significant amounts of water - both indoors and outdoors - can be timed to help manage periods of high demand for electricity.