• Small changes you can make at home to save water and cash

    By: Daniel Miller

    Updated:

    BOSTON - With warmer weather here, many homeowners will be using a lot more water. But a local plumber showed Boston 25 News easy ways to avoid sticker shock when you open your next water bill. 

    Norfolk plumber Adam Mitchell, of Day Square Plumbing and Mechanical Co., says the biggest culprit for costly leaks is the toilet. A leaking toilet can cause you to lose about 200 gallons of water a day if it's not kept in check, Mitchell says.

    Putting a couple of drops of food coloring in your toilet tank will identify the problem. Let it sit for a few minutes, and if the color shows up in the bowl you know you have a leak.

    Mitchell says it's an easy fix: just get a new flapper at your local supply house.

    The Shower 

    When it comes to the shower, Mitchell says the creature comforts could cause your bill to creep up. If you remove flow restrictors from your showerhead, he said, you'll use an additional 45 gallons of water at the very least… and that's with each shower.

    "No shower head is supposed to have more than a 2 gallon per minute flow. All the manufacturers put them in. Some people know how to take them out and they get more volume in their showerhead and more volume costs more money," Mitchell said.

    The Kitchen Sink

    Another cost? That leaky kitchen sink.

    "That'll cost you about 5 gallons a day -- about 2,000 gallons over a year's time," Mitchell said.

    Your Water Meter

    Mitchell says it's a good idea to take a picture of your water meter before the season starts and then again in the fall to compare it with your bill.

    "If it's wrong, you can call the water department and say ‘No you over-billed me'," Mitchell said.

    Watering your Lawn

    Another saver: Be smart about watering your lawn. If you have an irrigation system, program it correctly.

    Mitchell says he usually advises customers to schedule it to turn on sometime between 3 to 4 a.m. "You want to make sure the time is set properly, and you want to make sure your outdoor rain sensor is working properly," Mitchell said.

    He also recommends thinking about getting another water meter for just your irrigation if your town charges for water and sewer, since that water is going in the ground, not down the drain. If you water with a hose, it's a good idea to make sure it's shut off after each use, to avoid a rupture on a hot summer day.

    If you have concerns about leaks, Mitchell recommends you call a licensed professional, such as an irrigation company or a professional plumber, so they can guide you.

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