1. Drip Irrigation Systems: By far the most common unintended water loss problem comes from drip irrigation systems. The first area of concern is incorrect watering policies such as watering too often and/or watering too long. The automatic operating solenoid valves used in the system to automatically turn on and off the irrigation water fail or malfunction by not closing or only partially closing leaving water running through the system constantly. Over time the individual water lines to each plant lose the metering drip head which causes more water to be used than normal.
2. In House Fixtures: In the toilet, the water level float in the water tank has not been adjusted correctly water overflows constantly into the overflow tube and is wasted. The rubber stopper at the bottom of the tank does not seal properly and allows water to seep from the tank and down the drain.
3. Pool and Water Features: Automatic pool filling valve and float assembly allow water to escape from the valve and float container into the surrounding ground under the cool deck. Water leaks in the pool piping either at the pumps, filter or under ground pool piping. Water feature float not properly functioning and allowing water to flow into the overflow piping.
What to do to address each of the above:
Over watering is a major cause of high water use in our area. It has been recommended that it is better to water longer (30 minutes to 1.5 hours) and fewer times (once or twice a week in the hottest months and much less in the cooler months) which allows the plant to receive deep watering and establish a root system that can withstand our hotter temperatures. It is also recommended that some type of mulch be used around the plant to help reduce evaporation. A quick check to see if your plant needs additional water is to feel the leaves of the plant early in the morning to see if they feel cool. If they do not feel cool the plant has reduced its natural transpiration and might need additional water.
We also provide brochures and landscape information with suggested watering amounts and times at our offices located at 7181 Ed Everett Way.
We understand that many of our customers use landscaping firms to maintain their home landscaping. It is important to understand that many of the landscapers main interest is to provide a good looking landscape regardless of the amount of water they use to irrigate. Since irrigation is mostly done in non-daylight hours they very seldom encounter leaks in the irrigation systems unless the system can be checked during the day. We encourage our customers to make regular inspections of their landscaping looking for over watering or leaks in drip irrigation system.
A leaking toilet many times can be detected by hearing the water running. There is a more sure way to detect water leaks in the toilet water tank and that is by putting a few drops of food coloring in the water of the tank and waiting for a few minutes to see if the colored water in the tank runs into the stool. Colored water in the stool would indicate that the tank’s rubber stopper has a leak and needs to be replaced. An occasional inspection of the water level of the tank can indicate if the float controlled water level is proper so as to not allow over flow.
To check to see if you pool has a water leak you need to place a bucket on the steps inside your pool filled with water to the same level as the water in the pool. You must turn off the automatic pool filler so that no water enters the pool and continue to run the circulating pump and filter as normal for a couple of days without back washing. A pool piping water leak is indicated if after the trial period, since water evaporation from the surface of the pool and the surface of the water in the bucket will be the same, the pool water level is lower than the water level in the bucket. If the water level in the pool is lower than in the bucket you will need to have a professional leak detection service locate the water leak in you pool piping.
Water features cause a large amount of evaporation but normally have re-circulation systems to help conserve water. They also normally have a float actuated filling system that can cause overflows unless they are inspected occasionally. Once again thru checking and observation, overflow situations can be found and eliminated by float replacement or repair. A properly sized pumping system will also reduce the wasted water that is caused by water splashing out of the water feature and reduce the general flow of the water feature.
Low water use toilets can save over 12,000 gallons per year when you consider that each person on average flushes the toilet eight times a day. Low flow toilets can now flush using 1.2 to 1.3 gallons of water per flush. New toilets can be purchased with dual flush systems that can save additional water when flushing as they provide reduced water usage when flushing liquid wastes.
Low flow shower heads and sink and faucet aerators have become very common and can be purchased in almost every building supply or hardware store. The principal used in these fixtures is mixing air in the flow stream to increase the perceived volume without increase actual water usage. Still the best practice is to limit time in the shower and to not let faucets run continuously when we use them.
When considering changing any water using appliance or fixture look for the “Water Sense” label as this assures that appliance or fixture has been tested and approved for it water saving abilities.