Suspect a leak? Learn how to check.

Your water meter is a very helpful device. It can assist you to in finding plumbing leaks as well as provide information about how much water you have recently used.

Image: Pressure regulator, House Valve, Irrigation Shutoff

To check for a leak, turn off all faucets and water-using devices (such as dishwashers and washing machines). Go to your water meter and make a mark on the location of the sweep hand.

Image: Water Meter

Wait 15 minutes and look at the water meter dial again. If the sweep hand has moved, you have water being used somewhere on your property, which may indicate a leak. The triangle located on the sweep is a low flow indicator, found on all newer meters. The indicator rotates when even a small amount of water passes through the meter.

The most common areas for leaks include toilets, faucets, plumbing joints and sprinkler controls.

See page 2 of our doorhanger for leak tips.

Check for a leaky or running toilet:

Place a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there is a leak that should be repaired. Be sure to flush the toilet to remove the food coloring after your test is complete.

Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints:

If a faucet drips after it has been turned off firmly, the washer is likely worn out and needs to be replaced. Fixing a leaky faucet may save up to 20 gallons of water per day.

Monitor sprinkler controllers:

Sprinkler controllers/timers should be reviewed and modified on a monthly basis. Test your system to check run times and look for leaky valves and broken sprinkler heads. By adjusting sprinkler heads that are misaligned and irrigating the sidewalk or driveway you may save up to 500 gallons of water a month.

If you have questions about your water meter and would like an SMWD Water Use Efficiency Specialist to conduct a home evaluation to look for leaks, please call Customer Service at (949) 459-6420.

Proper water pressure saves water and prevents undue wear on appliances. As shown below, the higher the water pressure, the more water is used.

Image: Chart of how many gallons of water are wasted with high water pressure

What is a water pressure regulator?

A water pressure regulator is a safety feature designed to prevent the water pressure inside your home from climbing too high or falling too low. Building codes require builders to install a water pressure regulator on homes when the street mainline pressure exceeds 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Most regulators are pre-set by manufacturers at 50 to 60 psi, which is the optimal pressure.

Where is the regulator located?

The regulator is a bell shaped device often located on the main line inlet pipe and usually near the house shut off valve (customer valve) outside the home. If you have one it is very important to know where it is and how to check it.

Adjusting the regulator

Most pressure regulators have an adjustment nut that can be used to increase or decrease the water pressure. Incorrectly adjusting the regulator could cause water pressure to become too high or too low. Unfortunately, SMWD is unable to adjust pressure regulators because they are considered to be the homeowner’s private property.

If an adjustment cannot be made to you regulator, it might need to be replaced. You may want to contact a local plumbing supply store or a plumbing professional.

Fast forward to 1min:05sec in the video below for information on how to adjust your pressure regulator:

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