Tuesday, April 22, 2008

#211 - I Feel Like Hans Brinker - Part I

Checking for Leaks

So I'm on a water-saving kick lately. I'm trying to chip away at that Riot Category and get it down as low as possible before summer arrives. It's not really cheating, per se, I just want to see if I can hit the 10% goal now, because I know in a few weeks that number will jump thanks to watering the garden and bathing the stinky kids more often.

And so, I'm diligently checking every sink, tub and toilet in my house for any sign of leaks. Here's how I'm doing it:

At night, I place an empty cup under each sink faucet and go to bed. In the morning, if there's any water in the cup, I know there's a leak. The same system works for the tubs. Our shower heads don't need to be checked since they're both tub/shower combos and the water won't even go up to the shower head unless the pulley-uppey thing on the tub faucet is up (sorry to go all technical plumber jargon on you there).

Toilets, though, are another matter altogether. Mostly, because they're more fun to check. [ECO-DORK ALERT] I remove the tank off the back of the toilet and squeeze in a couple drops of food coloring. Then I leave it be for 20 minutes or so. When I come back, if the water in the bowl is colored, I know there's a leak. That, or, one of the kids needs some medical attention stat. But if the water's still clear, I'm leak-free.

So, as you can guess, this is a two-part change here. I've checked for leaks and found two. Hubby's sink in the upstairs bath and the downstairs toilet. Now I've got to decide whether to tackle these problems myself or call a professional. I think I'll go with my standard M.O. of messing with it until I break it so badly that a professional will be able to charge me double the normal rate to make an emergency visit. That's just the way I like to do things.


e4 said...

I think Riot Rules don't count watering the garden against your water total. Of course if you're metered, it's hard to separate, but at least you don't have to feel quite as bad...

Heather said...

We started watching our water late last fall and it has made SUCH a difference! We changed the shower head to a supper efficient one, my hubby bought special stoppers for the toilet so that they use less water per flush, and I started taking navy showers. Everything helped. Then in December, we learned that our utility company bases one year of sewage bills on our water usage for December, January and Febrary. Talk about water conservation craziness! We did everything we could think of (including at that time switching to using the dishwasher when we learned it uses less water than washing dishes). We managed to really reduce our water and in March when we got our sewage bill....it was down!

Good luck! It's totally worth the effort!

MamaBird said...

Whoa, I think you might be channeling my life. The plumber is upstairs for the second time this month (that's right, during the *purely theoretically* financially boosting No Consumption month) for a gusher underneath a bathroom sink. Two for two now! No need for food coloring with those... sigh. But will play around with the toilets for sure. Great DIY tip.

Anonymous said...

You could probably google plumbing tips or find a book at the library to help you fix it. Personally I'm more of a learn by example person. So maybe when you call a plumber hover of his shoulder and figure how he fixes it :)