***On Monday, September 20th the business office of the Southwestern PA Water Authority will be closed to the public until further notice. The office will remain active Monday - Friday 8am to 4:30pm to process mail, phone calls, faxes, and emails.
Leaks can happen at any time, although there are certain causes that are more likely than others. The easiest way to determine if you have a leak is to shut off all water-using appliances, faucets and outside watering tools (do not shut off the main water line to your home), and then check to see if the dial on your water meter has stopped moving. If you are sure no water is being used inside or outside the home, and the indicator continues to move, you probably have a leak. At that point, you need to determine where the leak is coming from.
Locate your water meter
Knowing how and where to shut off your home's water supply is very important. Whether there's a water emergency, a leak in your home, or you just want to solve a simple plumbing problem, you may need to completely turn off your home's water supply. Find the spot where water enters the home, and you will find the shutoff valve nearby. Turn the valve clockwise. Keep in mind that even though you have now shut off the main-line supply, there is still water in the water pipes within your home, so it is important to drain all the faucets until the water stops running.
Leak detection indicator
First, look at the face of the meter and observe the numbers on the dial. If the dials are moving and you have verified that no water is being used, you more than likely have a leak on your plumbing system or service line.
Read the meter twice
Read the meter first at night, after the day's usage has ended and again in the morning before any water is used. Find the difference by subtracting the first reading from the second reading to calculate the consumption used overnight.
Look for leaks
Check all of your faucets and outside spigots to see if they are dripping. Be sure to check under the sink as well. The most common invisible leak is your toilet. To test whether a toilet has a leak, you can purchase toilet tank leak indicator tablets, but it is much simpler just to place a few drops of food coloring in the holding tank. Wait 5 minutes (do not flush the toilet) and if any coloring apears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
Know where your master shutoff valve is at your water meter. This will turn off your water supply to the entire building.
Your service line should enter your home in the basement or a utility room. It is imperative that this area has sufficient heat to prevent freezing of service lines and the meter. If not properly insulated a small draft can result in a frozen meter or frozen water lines. Seal access doors, cracks and broken windows. Wind chill factors can easily freeze exposed water pipes.
We advise our customers who have a water meter pit to make sure the pit is properly insulated to protect the meter from freezing. We also recommend that any debris or high snow be removed from the pit lid and surrounding area to ensure that the Automatic Meter Reading system can communicate with the water meter.
Before winter turn off the water supply from the inside, disconnect the hose and allow the water to drain from the pipe. It is possible that an overnight freeze could burst your faucet or the pipe its connected to.
Care should be taken when thawing frozen service lines. The pipe may already be broken and once thawed, you will need to control the water. Any questions regarding internal plumbing please contact your local plumber or contractor. SPWA does not work on internal plumbing or customer service lines.
Sputtering faucets, irregular water flow and vibrating pipes may indicate that you have air in your water lines. To remove air within your internal plumbing you can turn on all your faucets. Leave the water run for about 5 minutes. Start from the lowest faucet in the house to the highest faucet. This allows the water pressure on your internal system to force all of the air from the pipes. If this does not work, please contact our office for further assistance.
Water heaters are a common source of yellow or discolored water. Maintenance, repair work, or flushing in your local area could also stir up particles that may cause discolored water. If you experience discolored water please contact our office for further assistance.
A water pressure regulator is a bell shaped valve that reduces the pressure coming from the main water line into your home. This valve brings down the pressure to a safe level before water reaches any plumbing fixtures in your home. To reduce the pressure fit a socket wrench over the adjustment nut on the top of the valve then turn the nut counter clockwise to reduce the pressure and clockwise to increase the pressure.