There are many reasons why a residential home might receive a higher than usual water bill but the main reason would be an undetected leak.
Have you downloaded the Eye on Water App? Eyeonwater.com
MUD 367 has installed “smart meters” at every residence in the district in our ongoing effort to promote water conservation. Once you download the app, you will have a clear picture of your home’s monthly water usage. You can also set up the app to notify you if there is a water leak!
Here are some common leak issues:
- Auto fills on pools are the #1 cause of leaks in our district. The valve will get stuck “on” creating a cycle of filling the pool and then reducing the water. Manual valves have been left open as well. Because you don’t see water flowing in your yard or pool, it is hard to actually identify.
- Sprinkler systems running continuously during the night. You may think your system is running each zone once whereas the system has been erroneously set up to run both A & B, meaning each zone is being watered twice during the night.
- If your sprinkler system has a broken solenoid valve, this will cause a constant leak. Test each zone manually to ensure accuracy.
- A leaking toilet can waste thousands of dollars a year! The cost of a plumber to replace a faulty fill valve or flapper is approximately $100-$125. But, why not try to repair it yourself? The replacement part for a flapper is available at Home Depot and/or Ace Hardware for under $20 with Home Depot offering DIY videos on-line.
- A leaking faucet usually can be repaired by replacing the cartridge. Did you know that Moen and Delta replace their cartridges for the life of the faucet? Once you receive the new cartridge, your licensed plumber can install with only the cost of labor.
- Over time, water softeners can malfunction causing a steady leak.
- Outside faucets and garden hoses may have been left on by a child or landscaper.
- Power washing your driveway, sidewalks and back patio create a beautiful and clean environment but remember when your bill arrives that this is a huge amount of water being used.
The main reason MUD 367 sees high water bills during the summer months is that your sprinkler system is running more than necessary. Unfortunately, far too many people think they have to water every day or every other day to have a lush lawn. This misconception wastes water and actually weakens the lawn. Horticulturists say that watering the lawn deeply and infrequently is the key to forcing grass and plants to grow deep roots so they can access water for a longer period of time and thrive through the long, hot summer. Water close to the surface evaporates long before the deeper moisture. Air is forced out of soil that is continually saturated. Since roots need air, overwatering tends to promote very shallow roots.
To figure out how long to run your sprinkler system, try the Tuna Tin Test…place a series of empty, 1-inch deep tuna cans (at least 3) throughout the area the sprinkler system covers. Turn on the water for the amount of time you think is correct. Each can should have roughly the same amount of water — about 1 inch. If the cans contain less than 1 inch of water, you need to water a little longer. If the cans have an uneven amount of water, the distribution of water needs adjustment. A soil probe (available at most hardware and garden shops) can also determine how deep the water is penetrating into the soil.
If you have spoiled your lawn and landscape areas with frequent ‘soakings’, you may need to wean the area gradually to allow the shallow roots to grow.
Here are a few other important tips to consider to get you started saving water — and money — this summer:
- Set system to complete the cycle before 4:00 a.m. This timing will avoid the peak demand for other household uses — like showers, kitchen chores and the use of laundry appliances.
- Watering in the heat of day can waste up to 65 percent of the water through evaporation.
- Mow only when necessary. Set the mower to the highest setting during warm weather. Longer grass keeps the soil cool, minimizing evaporation and conserving water.
- Leave clippings on the lawn. They supply organic matter and supply one third of your fertilizer needs.
- Add ¼ to ½ inch compost to lawn in fall or spring. It will decrease water needs and supply nutrients to the lawn.
- Most importantly, WATER ONLY WHEN YOUR LAWN NEEDS IT!