Unusual water usage can be detected by smart water meters
Some residences in Beaumont have a "smart" E-coder water meter which can alert you to a “leak.”
“Leak” means unusual water usage and doesn't necessarily mean a plumbing leak or basement flooding. Most commonly, leak messages happen when toilets are continuously running, sprinklers fail to shut off as programmed or humidifiers are wasting water.
The average home uses water intermittently throughout the day with periods of time with no usage (such as overnight when people are sleeping). If water use has no breaks ("continuous"), an alert is generated and will show on your utility bill (as well as the water meter itself).
Your utility bill can warn you of the possibility of a leak by displaying a leak message (if you have an E-coder water meter).
Leak messages will indicate a time range and be flagged as:
- continuous, where there is no break in water usage or
- intermittent, when there is high water usage throughout the day.
For ranges of 1-2 days or 3-7 days of leak detected, you can either check for leaks or wait until your next utility bill to see if the trend continues.
Leaks detected for ranges of 8-14 days, 15-21 days and 22-34 days should be addressed. You can check for leaks and review the Possible Causes of Leaks document [PDF].
Check for leaks
Checking for leaks around your home is a quick and easy process and can save you money.
You can follow these steps to find out if you have a leak, even if you don't have a smart water meter or didn't get a leak message on your utility bill.
Step 1: Find your water meter
It's usually in or near a utility room. Decide which type of meter you have:
Type #1 Type #2 Type #3
Step 2: Turn your water off
Turn all fixtures and water-using appliances off, inside and outside the house, so no water is being used. This includes: showers, sinks, washing machines and any appliance that uses water (like fridges with ice/water dispensers).
Step 3: Watch the meter's leak indicator
Type #1 or #2 meters will have a spinning red triangle, or silver and black round disc, to show a leak.
Type #3 meters will show a "dripping tap" icon on the digital screen if there's a leak.
If the meter's dial hand or digital read-out is moving, water is running somewhere in your system: go back to Step 2 to double-check all appliances are shut off. If everything is off, go to Step 4.
If the leak indicator, dial hand or digital read-out is not moving, note the position of the hand or the read-out number and wait 10 minutes. Check the meter again: if it's moved or changed, you have a slow leak. Go back to Step 2 to confirm that appliances are off and repeat Step 3 if any need to be turned off.
If there is no sign of a leak, end the test and reset all fixtures and appliances.
Step 4: Check for leaks
A dripping tap is a common source of a water leak, but is usually obvious to residents. The vast majority of water leaks that go unnoticed involve a toilet.
To check a toilet for a leak:
- Flush the toilet and while the tank is still filling, add 2 or 3 drops of food colouring to the water in the tank.
- Wait 15-30 minutes. If the water in the toilet bowl changes colours, the flapper valve needs to be replaced. The flapper valve is located at the bottom of the tank and kits are available at most hardware and home supply stores.
Other sources of water leaks include sprinkler irrigation systems and external hose bibs.
If your water meter still indicates water flow after following the above steps, consider contacting a plumber for help.