Water leaks can destroy your equipment, damage your facility, and drastically increase your water and sewer costs. Left unresolved, leaks can waste upwards of tens of thousands of gallons per day. Small leaks, hidden behind drywall, can cause mold to develop quickly. Larger leaks can erode infrastructure, like parking lots and build foundations. Between your increased water bill and repair costs, a single leak can easily cost thousands of dollars.
The faster you detect water leaks and find the source of the problem, the less impact they’ll have on your business.
Here’s how to detect (and find) water leaks fast.
Pay attention to your water meter
Sometimes leaks are easily visible. When there’s water pooling under a piece of equipment, there’s obviously a problem. But what happens if a pipe bursts underground, or leaks in a concealed part of your facility? Unfortunately, even when you diligently maintain and inspect your water infrastructure, leaks can be extremely difficult to spot.
That’s why when it comes to detecting water leaks, your water meters are your greatest assets. Water meters show you how much water flows into your facility. If you know how many gallons or cubic feet of water you typically use over a given period, then regularly checking your water meter will help you notice when there’s something abnormal.
Additionally, some water meters have a “low flow indicator,” which lets you see if there’s water flowing into your facility when there shouldn’t be. If you shut off all your valves and equipment, and the low flow indicator still shows that there’s water flowing, you have a leak. Some water meters also display time of day and historical water usage data to help you see when there’s something abnormal going on.
Ideally, your facility should have submeters for water-intensive equipment (like cooling towers and irrigation systems) or specific parts of your facility. This way, you can isolate leaks to smaller areas–so you can find them faster.
Understand your water infrastructure
When your water meter indicates that there’s a leak, or you see water pooling somewhere it shouldn’t be, it’s important that you’re familiar with all of the places it could be coming from. This is one of the reasons why it’s valuable to conduct a water audit. A water audit documents every valve, fixture, and piece of equipment that uses water, along with relevant information like its flow rate.
Understanding your water infrastructure helps you identify the most likely sources of a leak, so you don’t overlook any valves that may have been left open, equipment that could have malfunctioned, or fixtures that you need to repair. Basically, when you’ve completed a water audit, you have a checklist to review when you know there’s a leak but can’t tell where it’s coming from.
Train your employees to see the signs
Every facility is different. There will always be pipes and equipment that employees don’t see throughout the day, but by familiarizing employees with your water infrastructure, and empowering them to feel responsible for water waste, you’ll detect and find leaks much faster.
You could simply have your facilities team inspect water-using equipment during their daily floor walk or routine, but you should also make sure other employees know about the equipment in their area and understand what a water leak looks like.
If someone is responsible for stocking the soda machine, for example, they should check to make sure it isn’t draining into the floor whenever they restock it.
It’s also critical that employees understand the process for handling leaks. Should they notify their manager, or directly report leaks to the facilities team? Do you have clear communication channels in place?
What about when one of your meters shows that there’s a major leak? Does your maintenance crew have to check that entire circuit themselves, or can they count on nearby employees to do a quick check of the most likely sources?
When your employees are familiar with the biggest ways your facility uses water and the equipment and fixtures that are most prone to problems, and they understand the process for handling leaks, spotting and resolving water leaks becomes a lot more manageable.
Invest in leak-detection and real-time water management tools
No matter how frequently you check your water meters, you’re bound to miss some leaks. It’s not like you’re going to pay someone to stand there and watch your meters all day. So what happens if a water leak occurs in the hours or days between checks?
That’s where Water Efficiency as a Service comes into play. Apana connects directly to every water meter in your facility, as designated by you, and automatically monitors the water data 24/7. Our software gives you real-time insights and powerful analytics into how your facility uses water, and most importantly, it sends you alerts whenever there’s abnormal water usage.
A single leak could cost you thousands of dollars, and Apana detects new water waste events on average every 16 hours in a typical enterprise installation.
But Apana doesn’t just detect water waste events like leaks, either. You’ll get personalized step-by-step instructions to find the source of the problem, too.