Locating Leaks Takes Teamwork
Caption plum:Crawl spaces can be hiding hard-to-find leaks
The secret to dealing with leaks is catching them as soon as they happen. The easiest way to achieve this is to let your employees be your eyes and ears. Once your company has a designated water conservation leader, people will know who to tell when leaks occur. Encourage staff to report any signs of water loss - even a single dripping faucet can lose up to 20 gallons a day.
Another way to detect leaks is to shut down all facilities and equipment that use water; check the water meter before and after. If the meter runs after shutdown, suspect a leak. (To avoid inconvenience to customers and staff you could also shutdown and test water-using systems independently when they are not being used.) Another alternative is to install sub-metering. Sub-metering helps you focus leak-detection efforts.
Add a few simple leak-detection and prevention measures to your maintenance plan:
- Place dye tablets or food coloring in toilet tanks, if the dye appears in the bowl after 10 or 15 minutes, the toilet is leaking.
- Insulate all cold water pipes that may be exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Use mechanical seals instead of packing glands where applicable on pumps. Packing glands will start to leak increasing water waste with age.
- Inspect all crawl spaces and other areas where leaking pipes may go unnoticed.
- Recognize the associated signs of invisible leaks such as dampness, rust marks and swelling boards. Listen, often leaks can be heard but not seen.
- Hire a leakage-detection company that can use technologies like pressure testing, flow monitoring and echo correlation to inspect concealed or underground pipes.
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