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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI

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April Newsletter

It’s hard to believe it’s April with the weather we’ve been having. We’re all hoping summer hasn’t been cancelled this year! In this month’s newsletter we’ll dig into your home’s plumbing. For those of us with city water knowing how to read your water meter can help you determine if there may be a leak somewhere costing you extra money every month. Plus, some simple projects for getting your home in tip top shape for spring. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to read a water meter - and how to check for plumbing leaks by reading your water meter

 

Knowing how to read your water meter can tell you a lot about your household water usage and can help you determine if there may be leaky pipes in your system.
Locating your water meter
There are few standard places to find your water meter. Most water meters in colder climates (like ours) are located in the basement near the location where the main water line comes into your house. If you are on a slab the meter will most likely be in your utilities closet or under your kitchen sink. 
 
Water meters in the US measure volume in cubic feet or gallons. One cubic foot is equal to 7.48 gallons. To convert cubic feet to gallons (because that's the measure most of us understand best) simply multiply the number of cubic feet by 7.48. (Ex 5 cubic feet of water would be 5 x 7.48 = 37.4 gallons.) Water charges on your meter are usually based on 100 cubic feet units or 1000 gallon units. It's helpful to know that an average US family uses about 10,000 gallons of water a month but 10% of that is wasted by running toilets and leaky faucets or pipes.
 
Here's another resource to learn about how to read a water meter:
 

How to check for a leak

Once you understand your water meter and how to read it, you can test your home for water leaks.
Step 1 - turn off all the water in your home. Stop running toilets, make sure no water appliances are running (dishwasher or clothes washer), Check your refrigerator too and turn off the ice-maker. Turn off the sprinklers and irrigation system too.
Step 2 - Check your water meter. If your meter has a flow indicator see if it is moving. This indicates that the home is using water, somewhere. Check your home again for any water usage, then check the flow indicator again. 
Step 3 - If your meter does not have a flow indicator or if the flow indicator was moving and you want to know how much water you're wasting take a read of your meter and write it down. Wait one hour and check the meter again. Take the new number, subtract the number from an hour ago and that's the amount of water wasted for that one hour. To find out how much water is wasted in a month multiply the amount wasted in a hour by 730, and that's how much water is being wasted in a month!
 
If you do have a leak here are some ways to find it:
  • Yard leaks - check for soggy, muddy ground after a couple days of dry weather.
  • Basement leaks - check wrapped pipes for wetness, check walls and floors for water
  • Household leaks - you can usually find these by listening carefully to the water moving through the house
  • Crawl space leaks - pipes may be buried or covered with plastic
  • Slab - these pipes are buried under the concrete, it may just be a matter of eliminating all other possibilities. You may see a wet spot or feel a hot spot (from hot water) on the floor. Professionals can usually pin point the leak with special ultrasound equipment or can find it by running compressed air through the pipes and listening for the sound of the leak.
Contact a professional plumber to help you with pinpointing the problem and making repairs. Visit Sterling Home Services website and check our preferred providers. 
 

April To Do Home Maintenance Checklist

 

  • Fix the doors: This great resource explains in detail how to fix the follow types of door problems: Door Repair Guide
  • A door that sticks - the door that requires an extra effort to pull open or push closed
  • Squeaky hinges - door makes a squeaky noise when opening or closing
  • Gaps between the door and the frame - when the door is out of kilter or misaligned
  • Sliding glass doors that are out of track
  • Drifting door - that one door that slowly drifts open/shut every time you try to leave it open
  • Chimney repair - after a long winter of cozy nights by the fire don't forget to take care of your chimney. Check the chimney cap - or install one if you don't have one. These help keep the critters out of your warm, cozy chimney.  Your chimney should also be swept once a year. When hiring a chimney sweep make sure the company is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Beware of chimney sweeping scams that scare you into expensive and unneeded chimney repairs.
  • Clean your entry - Make your front door a welcoming place. Sweep, dust and clean the front door and porch. Remove any broken, damaged or fading decorations like artificial flowers, flower pots, plant hangers, etc. Replace the door mat with a fresh, clean new one. Clean or replace rusty, dirty light fixtures. Repaint the front door, railings and/or steps. Put out fresh plants and flowers in pots or in planting beds at the entrance.
  • Check your fence - the fence may have suffered damaged unseen under the snow. Walk the perimeter, test the sturdiness of posts.  Fix what you can and contact your fence company for the larger repairs.

It Happened in April

April 2, 1792 - Congress established the first US Mint at Philadelphia
April 3, 1995 - Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to preside over the Court.
April 4, 1968 - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is killed by a sniper in Memphis, TN
April 8 - Celebrated as Buddha's birthday
April 9, 1865 - Official end of the American Civil War
April 11, 1970 - Apollo 13 is launched, "Houston we have a problem."
April 15 1912 - the Titanic sinks in the waters off of Newfoundland
April 16, 1889 - Charlie Chaplin is born
April 24, 1800 - the Library of Congress is established in Washington, D.C. it is the world's largest library.
April 24, 1990 the Space Shuttle Discover launches the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit
April 25, 1956 -Elvis Presley has his first number one hit "Heartbreak Hotel"
April 30, 1789 - George Washington becomes the first U.S. President

 

 
 
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