COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As dozens of Columbia water customers continue to fight water bills unexpectedly climbing into the triple and even quadruple digits, a local plumber is offering tips and tricks to ensure your home is leak free.
Carolina Conditions offered a free home inspection to Lolita Baens after seeing WIS's report on her sporadic water bills that peaked above $900.
They checked every faucet, tank and tap for problems that could explain the increases. But unfortunately for Lolita, they couldn't find anything wrong.
To others, they suggest starting with the toilet if you plan to inspect your own home.
Start by removing the lid to the tank, then add food coloring.
"Any color, red, blue. Just a few d rops will work," Carolina Conditions plumber Michael Kingsmore said.
Wait a few minutes to see if any color seeps into the bowl. If it doesn't, Kingsmore says your toilet is likely leak-free.
When it comes to faucets, make sure levers are all the way off, then simply watch for drips.
"A good rule of thumb is 3 to 5 minutes. Just put your hand under the faucet," Kingsmore said.
If you don't have time to wait, leave a paper towel below to see if your faucet is dripping while you're away.
Don't forget to check outdoor spigots.
Kingsmore says it's important to check the meter itself.
"The water meter actually has numbers on it like an odometer on a car. And over time, the glass can get scratched and the numbers unreadable," Kingsmore said.
Kingsmore also pointed to a little red triangle, which spins when water is continuously running. That makes it one of the most obvious ways to detect a leak, and for some, the answer to a billing headache.