Save a Drop, Stop the Drip!
Frequently check your home for water leaks to save a buck! A dripping faucet or leaky toilet can be the main cause for significant water consumption and high utility bills. Make it a priority to frequently check for water leaks in your home or business by following these tips:
- Sign up for e-Utility to access the daily consumption recorded by your water meter. E-Utility allows you to monitor the hourly usage details and consumption history for your utility account. Refer to eutility.medicinehat.ca to sign up for e-Utility today!
- Get to know your water meter and how it displays water consumption. IPERL meters have an LCD display that shows water consumption in cubic meters and litres. You can measure water use in your home by taking frequent reads from your water meter.
- Turn off all water using appliances ensuring that, to your knowledge, no water is being used. Observe the face of the water meter. If the last digit(s) behind the decimal point are changing, then there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing system.
- Take a water meter read at some point during the day or night when you know water will not be consumed for an 8 hour or more period. At the end of this time frame, take another water meter read. If the readings are identical then there are no leaks in the plumbing system. If the reading is different and no water has been used, then this will confirm that there is a leak and you should proceed to identify where the leak or leaks are located in the plumbing system.
- Toilets are notorious for hidden leaks and if gone undetected they can waste thousands of litres per month. You may not always be able to hear the leak, so it is important to check the toilet and parts periodically. Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball. If the leak is at the overflow, the water level is too high; however sometimes the overflow pipe may leak below the water level at the seal.
Plunger ball leaks are not easily spotted and it is best to check for leaks in the toilet by performing a dye test. Put food colouring or dye tablets in the toilet tank. Do not flush and wait 15-20 minutes. If the colour seeps through into the toilet bowl, this indicates that there is a leak. Toilet repair kits can be purchased from local hardware stores or consider contacting a plumber to assist.
- Other sources of leaks include:
- Any fixtures connected to your water supply including household taps both inside and outside
- Underground lawn sprinkler systems
- Water-cooled air conditioners
- Water softeners
Frozen Water Lines
With the cold winter months comes the risk of water lines freezing. A frozen water line can be costly, possibly resulting in significant repairs and water loss due to breaks or leaks. Reduce the risk of a frozen water line and/or water meter by ensuring there is sufficient heat flow and insulation on exposed water lines in your home.
During the winter season, refer to the Prevent Frozen Water Lines page for tips on how to reduce the possibility of a frozen water line in your home or business.
Household Water Filtration
Although not necessary, some homeowners prefer to install a household water filtration system on faucets used for drinking and cooking water as a way of improving the overall taste, smell and appearance. Filters are the most inexpensive and most easily available method of water purification, however purification using filters is not 100 per cent.
In general, water filters remove only specific types of substances and are labeled for what they will remove such as chlorine or lead. Water filters do not remove micro-organisms and are intended for use with water that is known to be micro-biologically safe. No single water filter can be used to remove all types of substances from water.
Ask Questions! If you choose to use a home water filtration device, the important thing is to make an informed decision and not be taken in by misleading marketing tactics. The City of Medicine Hat will not offer to subsidize or recommend the installation of a filtration device. Should you be approached by a salesperson offering to take a sample of your drinking water, please do not hesitate to contact Environmental Utilities at 403.529.8176 to confirm the necessity of such a request.
A water softener is a mechanical unit designed to remove hardness from water by replacing the calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium. Whether a water softener should or should not be installed is up to the homeowner. Water softeners generally require professional installation and are relatively expensive to both purchase and maintain. The purchase and maintenance of a water softener will be the homeowner’s responsibility. Refer to the Water FAQs page for more information.