The Macon Water Authority

790 Second Street • Macon, GA 31202-0108 • (478) 464-5600

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Winterize while finding and fixing leaks

Jan 14, 2014 by Dr. Chris Wood

Frozen%20faucet

MWA customers are encouraged to winterize their homes and properties to protect pipes against freezing temperatures, while following additional tips for finding and fixing household leaks.

While the New Year typically features the warmth of a Holiday spent with family and friends, the first week in January in Middle Georgia also featured record cold weather. As a result, local residents and property owners fought the freezing temperatures and, in some cases, the resulting water line leaks and pipe bursts.

The Macon Water Authority (MWA) is offering help in the form of public education on how to help prevent such water loss to save customers money.

“We were fortunate to have only limited instances of service interruptions during the deep freeze last week (Jan. 7-8), but we want to alert customers that their water lines could be leaking without them noticing, and they could be susceptible to leaks or breaks in the future, with more freezing temperatures possible this winter,” says Tony Rojas, MWA Executive Director.

A feature article in the Authority’s November-December issue of its customer newsletter provided tips on how to winterize homes or properties, in an attempt to help customers prevent pipes, valves, sprinkler systems, etc. from freezing. MWA officials encourage customers to:

• Insulate exposed pipes with wraps or tapes.
• Add insulation to water heaters as well.
• Drain irrigation systems completely.
• Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets/spigots/hose bibs.
• Shut off the valve and drain the lines on faucets that are not frost free.
• Winterize the AC by draining all air conditioner pipes and hoses.
• Remove window air conditioning units and insulate those areas.
• Clean gutters, so winter rains and melting snow can drain.
• Place the thermostat on 55° – rather than turning it off – when leaving for extended periods.
• Should a pipe burst due to freezing, know how to shut off the main water line to the property.

MWA officials also encourage customers to use a few diagnostic techniques to check for leaks, especially during times when pipes or water lines may be susceptible to freezing temperatures.

Customers can start their leak detection by checking the pressure relief valve on their hot water heater. On occasions when these valves are plumbed directly into a drain, they could be leaking without a customer knowing.

In addition, even though the freeze may not have affected bathroom plumbing, MWA officials would like to remind water customers to check for leaks within their toilets. By removing the top off the tank of the toilet, residents and property owners can listen for the hissing sound of a water leak.

If toilets are not leaking, customers then can move their leak detection to the water line running from the meter to the main shut-off valve of the home or property. Customers should turn off the shut-off valve temporarily, while checking to see if the meter’s dial is still turning. If it is, the leak is between the meter and the home or property. (Customers can refer to a link on this MWA Web site at http://www.maconwater.org/how-to-read-your-meter-detect-a-leak to see how to read a water meter.)

However, if the meter has stopped moving once the shut-off valve has been turned off, any leaks would then be occurring somewhere within the dwelling or on the property. Residents and property owners can use hose bibs, which are spigots where hoses are connected to the outside of a dwelling, for leak detection. MWA officials can instruct customers on how to locate potential leaks throughout a property by listening to outside hose bibs or inside fittings, such as faucets or shower heads. (Customers can contact MWA Customer Care Representatives at 478-464-5600 for assistance.)

The MWA is a water utility noted for being proactive in helping its customers detect leaks or potential sources of water loss. The Authority regularly monitors all customer accounts to look for spikes in consumption that would be unusual, especially during this time of the year. MWA Customer Care Representatives notify customers of such unusual consumption patterns as they occur. However, the Authority encourages customers to pay close attention to their monthly and historical consumption presented on each water bill, to monitor for such spikes and inexplicable water use, which might be the result of a leak.

Finally, the MWA offers assistance for customers to minimize the financial hardship of a leak, should they detect one. MWA customers can apply for a leak adjustment, which equates to credit on their water bill, if they are able to pinpoint a water leak and its cause and have that leak fixed.

For more information or assistance with preventing, finding, and/or fixing water leaks, MWA customers can contact the Authority call center at 478-464-4600. Additional public information is available on this MWA Web site at http://www.maconwater.org/how-to-read-your-meter-detect-a-leak.

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
770-757-1681 (phone)
jcwood@uga.edu OR chris@jwapr.com (email)

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Tagged: macon water authority, mwa, macon georgia, winterization tips, freeze warning, winterize pipes, wise water use, leak detection

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