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Utilities > Conservation > Save Water  > Water Leaks: Identification & Repair  

Dripping FaucetOUTDOOR WATER Leaks:
A guide to identification and repair
An important tool for making repairs is the customer valve on the meter. If you have one, it is located on the customer side of the meter, and it can be used to turn off the water to your home while you make repairs.

Service Line LeaksExample of meter box.
Your service line runs from the meter to your house.
Determining if there is a leak can be done by isolating the line from the rest of the system. Many homes have a shut-off valve at the front of the house. Look for a pipe rising from the soil and entering the house. There should be a valve on the line, and possibly a hose bib as well. If this is the service line, then water pressure to the rest of the house will be shut off when you close the valve. The meter can then be checked for leaks, and if the meter is turning, you probably have a service line leak.

Leaky sprinkler. Caution should be used here; there could be a defective valve that is allowing a small amount of water to leak through the valve. To determine this, close the valve, then listen to the valve and the line before and after the valve. A service line leak may be audible as well, but a valve leak will be louder on the valve, and quieter as you move away from the valve. To listen, touch one end of a metal tool where you wish to listen, and place the other end against your ear. 

By the time an older line begins to leak, it probably has developed other problems. You should consider replacing the entire service line if a leak is discovered. This alternative is often easier and cheaper than locating the leak and making repairs. If you donít have a service line valve at the house, it would be a good idea to install one.

Broken sprinkler leaking water. Leaking Sprinkler Heads.
Sprinklers and other irrigation
fixtures should be checked monthly. Turn on your system and walk around to check for misdirected or poorly functioning sprinkler heads. Repairs should not be delayed, as a leak will decrease the systemís performance. Be sure to keep grass clipped around the heads so that it doesnít interfere with the spray pattern. Important irrigation tips are provided in handouts Outdoor Water Conservation, and Drip Irrigation.

Leaking Valves.
Irrigation valve leaks can be detected by listening to each individual valve in the same manner as the valve on the service line. If a leak is found, the water should be turned off and the valve cleaned, repaired or replaced. After you take the valve apart, look at the diaphragms inside. Wash off any specks of rust or other debris, because a small piece of debris can cause the valve to leak. More often than not, a cleaning will solve your problem. Diaphragms that have become hard or cracked should be replaced.

Leaking faucett.Hose Spigots
What appears to be a harmless dripping hose spigot can waste a lot of water and raise your water bills over the billing cycle. Just under the handle is a packing nut that may be tightened with a wrench, in a clockwise direction, to stop a dripping spigot. This is usually enough to stop a leak, but a persistent drip may indicate that the spigot needs to be replaced.

 Drip Irrigation Systems.
Drip Irrigation will save a great deal of water,
but only if used properly. Information provided with drip kits may suggest watering schedules that are excessive. There are a number of simple practices that will really pay off, so if you have a drip system, or are contemplating installing one, be sure to read the handout on Drip Irrigation.

 Drip Emitter Problems.Broken drip line leaking water.
Drip emitters should also be checked monthly
in the same manner as sprinkler heads. They are often made of hard plastic, and are subject to breaking off when they are stepped on. If an emitter becomes clogged, it should be cleaned out or replaced. There are many kinds of emitters currently on the marker, so do some window shopping before you buy. Emitters that can be disassembled for cleaning and adjusted for flow are particularly
desirable, and should last much longer.

Outdoor water leaks are very common and easy to find, but they tend to go undetected. After you read this pamphlet, you will be able to locate the most common leaks. You will also receive important tips to help you repair them.

Additional Information - More information is available on solving yourPhone. water use problems.  If you need to speak with someone, call the Utilities Conservation Office at 781-7217 or 781-7213.

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