As custodians of the town’s water resources, we here at the York Water District strive to make water conservation a yearlong endeavor, for individual households and for the community as a whole. The colder temperatures and shorter hours of daylight result in most of us spending more time indoors, but this doesn’t mean we should relax our efforts to conserve water.
It's always a good time to check your toilets for leaks, one of the most common sources for a spike in customer water usage. As we spend more time indoors this time of year, take a moment when the house is quiet to listen and watch each toilet for indications of a leak. Keep in mind we have toilet dye tablets available here at York Water District to help find quieter leaks, for instance leaking flapper valves. Most toilets are easy fixes and can be a big money saver reflected on your quarterly bill.
When our billing clerk notices a 60% spike in consumption over a 2-3 year average on a customer's bill, she will call the customer to point this out to let them know there may be an issue if there is no known reason for the increased consumption. Leaking toilets are a leading cause of these spikes, so being proactive and regularly checking your toilets is one of the best ways to avoid getting one of those calls.
Do you know where the shut off valve by your water meter is located for the incoming water supply from the street? Snow and ice storms can bring power failures and in turn frozen pipes. If we are called out to shut off the supply at the street, it can be time consuming due to winter conditions and comes with an additional service charge for responding after hours. Taking a minute to familiarize yourself with your shut off valve location can be a money saver and a stress reliever during a time of crisis. Just a reminder; always be safe when treading on a wet floor, especially as water rises and approaches electrical appliances. When in doubt, call a plumber.
As we all sit inside this winter, perhaps thinking about getting back out to the pool or garden this summer, here are some winter hints to keep in mind to save both water and peace of mind:
Disconnect and drain outside hoses. It is also recommended to wrap outdoor pipes and spigots.
Winterize your pipes. Preventing burst pipes and leaks are one of the best ways to conserve water in the winter.
Know where the shut off valve is for inside and outside the home. If you have a pipe burst, the quicker you can turn off the water will help minimize water damage.
Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks. Those harsh winter winds coming in through overlooked openings will quickly freeze exposed pipes.
Wrap hot water pipes with insulation in your crawl space or basement. Besides protecting the pipes from freezing, this will also help the water stay hot.
Let the faucets drip if necessary. If you are away from home for a few days or more when temperatures are below 32 degrees, the movement of water will prevent freezing. You can place a bucket under the dripping faucet to use for flushing the toilet or watering plants.
Check for leaks after a thaw. When the temperatures fluctuate between night and day in the winter, this causes pipes to expand and contract. This can cause pipes to break above and below ground resulting in massive water loss.