Empower Your H2O 22

This new year, refresh your water-saving knowledge and create your most water-efficient home yet.  

As Californians, we know that every raindrop, snowflake and turn of the faucet counts. This month, we’re focusing on empowering you to save water by learning simple at-home hacks and low-priced products to help save this precious resource.  

Discover how to master your water meter and tap into water-saving accessories to trim usage and prevent waste. Dive into 2022 with empowered resolutions focused on conservation!  

Water meter mastery 

If you have running water, you have a water meter that tracks how much water has been used on your property. Learning how to read your water meter is simple and can help promote water efficiency by monitoring water usage and catching any leaks.  

Your water meter and your monthly water bill work in tandem. Water agencies calculate bills based on what your meter reads. Taking time to periodically check your water meter could help detect any problems before you see a spike on your monthly statement. Here’s how: 

1) Locate your meter box: Most water meters have a concrete cover over it. For residential houses, meter boxes can often be found by the curb or near the street at the front of the home. If you live in an apartment or condo, we encourage you to contact your property manager to ask about the location of your water meter.  

2) Remove the concrete cover safely: Practice safety and caution when opening concrete covers because they are often heavy. You will need a crowbar or flathead screwdriver to help you open it. There may be weeds, roots or some crawly critters living under the concrete cover. Take your time when removing the cover and for added protection wear garden or utility gloves. Once you have prepped for opening the cover, place the crowbar or flathead in the slot located on the top of the concrete cover and pull open. Once removed, place the concrete cover to the side.  

3) Read the water meter: Once you have safely removed the cover, your water meter awaits you. You may need to flip the plastic cover on the meter upwards to reveal the meter.  For analog meters, there are three key components you need to know to read it properly: the dial, odometer and the low flow indicator.  

Odometer: The odometer on the water meter will look like the one on a car’s dashboard. The odometer records the total water usage in cubic feet. For billing purposes, water usage is measured in cubic feet that is then converted to gallons.  

Dial: The dial will look like a clock and typically has a red hand that rotates around the meter. A full rotation of the dial is equal to 1 cubic foot of water usage.   

100 cubic feet = 748 gallons = 1 unit of water billed. 

Low flow indicator: The low flow indicator looks like a miniature version of the dial. It will spin as water flows through your home’s pipes. Keep reading to see how the low flow indicator can help you identify possible leaks on your property!  

4) Investigate for leaks: Your water meter can inform you of leaky pipes before picking up the phone to call a plumber for further inspection. If you have noticed a spike in your water bill, water spots on ceilings or mysterious puddles around your property, chances are that you have a leak.  

To check for leaks on your property, shut off the water to your home by turning off the main water valve. Main water valves are often located next to your water meter outside of the house near the street. Turn the valve clockwise to stop the flow of water to your home. Next, look at your water meter and see if the low flow indicator or smaller dial on the meter is still spinning after you have shut off the main water valve. If the dial is still spinning after you have shut off the water to your home, this typically indicates that there is a leak on your property that needs to be addressed.  

Invest in low-priced water-efficient hardware   

Now that you are a water meter master, it’s time to look around your home for areas where you could upgrade your current hardware. Investing in water-efficient hardware and accessories can seem daunting and expensive, but there are several low-cost options that bring big savings over time. 

Water-efficient shower heads:  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), shower heads use 2.5 gallons per minute. For the average American family, that adds up to 40 gallons per day. Water-efficient shower heads use less than 2 gallons per minute without losing pressure, spray or intensity.  

Pool covers:  

Pool covers can dramatically aid in reducing evaporation and keeping dust, leaves and debris from collecting in the pool. Did you know that water evaporation not only happens on hot, dry days but also on cold winter nights? So, whether it’s a sizzling July summer day or a chilly January evening, if you have a pool and it is not in use, always use a pool cover.  

Water-saving sprinklers:  

The EPA also reported residential outdoor water use accounts for 9 billion gallons of water each day. Fixed water sprinklers often mist over landscapes and spray out large amounts of water in the air. This often results in overwatering, uneven coverage and wasted H2O. Replace the nozzle on your sprinklers with an efficient nozzle to decrease water waste. It can lower your monthly bill and is easy to install. 

Pro tip! Most SoCal water agencies also offer rebates for your purchases of specific water-efficient hardware and appliances. When you are ready to upgrade, be sure to contact your local water provider or visit their website to learn more about what rebates are available in your area.   

Keep the conversation flowing by following us on social media and sharing your water-saving strategies! 

Facebook: @SoCalTapWater 

Twitter: @SoCalTapWater 

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