Plumbing Blog

How to Read Your Home’s Water Meter

By learning to read your water meter, you’ll easily be able to keep track of water usage in your home, as well as detect any leaks in the system.

Your home’s water usage is probably measured by one of three meter types, The six-dial meter is most common. Five of its six dials (labeled 10, 100, 1000, 10, 000 and 100,000 for the number of cubic feet of water they record per revolution) are divided into tenths; the needles of the 10,000 and 100 meters move clockwise, and the other three move counterclockwise. The remaining dial, usually undivided, measures a single cubic foot per revolution. To read the six-dial meter, begin with the 100,000 dial, nothing the smaller of the two numbers nearest to needle. Then read the dial labeled 10,000 and so on. The meter reads 628,260 cubic feet.

The five-dial meter is read in exactly the same way as the six-dial meter, except that single cubic feet are measured by a large needle that sweeps over the entire face of the meter. The meter in this example reads 458,540 cubic feet.

the digital-readout meter looks like an automobile odometer. This type of meter may also have a small dial that measures a single cubic foot per revolution.

You can monitor the water used by a specific appliance by simply subtracting the “before” reading from the “after” reading of your meter. to track down a possible leak, turn off all the water outlets in the house and note the position of the 1-cubic-foot dial on your meter. After 30 minutes, check the dial. If the needle has moved, you have a leak.

Water conservation tips for your home

Water is a precious commodity. With water shortages and restrictions now a way of life in Marin & Sonoma counties, water conservation is a responsibility everyone should take seriously. Did you know the average person uses 500 liters of water a day?

Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to help save water around the house. A few simple adjustments can help you drastically cut your water usage. A range of water efficient plumbing products are available to improve your home’s water efficiency. Up to 40% of a households water is used in the toilet and bathroom, so this is a great place to start.

Saving water in the toilet

Toilets are perhaps the biggest water wasting appliance in your household. Around 20% of all water used in a house is flushed down the toilet. Upgrading an old toilet to a new water efficient system can make a huge difference to your household water consumption.

1. An old toilet system can use up to 12 liters of water per flush. New water efficient toilets used around 4 liters.

2. Replacing a single flush toilet with a dual flush system saves around 51 liters a day, or 10% of our daily water usage.

3. A single flush toilet costs three times as much as a dual flush toilet to maintain over a 10 year period.

Saving water in the shower

Reducing your shower time is one of the best ways to save water. But installing water efficient shower is also a great way to cut your water consumption. Water efficient shower heads provide a range of benefits:

1. Standard shower heads use 15-25 liters of water a minute. Water efficient shower heads use 6-7 liters per minute.

2. Over the course of a year, an energy efficient shower head will save 14,500 liters of water per household.

3. Gas hot water costs for a standard shower heads are almost double that of a water efficient shower head

Saving tap water

A running or leaking tap can be a surprising water waster. A running tap uses around 16 liters of water a minute. A leaking tap can waste up to 30-200 liters a day. Try the following tips to avoid wasting tap water:

1. Never leave the tap running while you brush your teeth.

2. Never leave the tap running while you shave.

3. Never wash your dishes using a running tap.

4. Install water efficient taps and fix any leaking taps.

Other water conservation tips around the household

1. When buying new appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, look for those with the highest WELS rating (a water efficiency measurement). The most efficient appliances use 50-67% less water than older models.

2. Check for evidence of water and toilet leaks regularly. A good way to do so is by checking the water meter while all appliances, taps and toilets are not in use. If your meter is turning, this can indicate a water leakage.

Don’t forget, water and energy efficient appliances don’t just help save the environment, they save you money. The less water and electricity you use, the lower you bills are.

Contact Gaspar’s Plumbing today and start your personal water conservation.

(818) 883-1072 or (805) 553-9976

Garbage Disposal Rules You Must Know

A garbage disposal is one of the most useful gadgets in your kitchen. It sits under the sink and shreds food waste so it can pass through the plumbing. However, you just can’t put anything and everything in the disposal.

Following are some important rules to live by when it comes to your garbage disposal:

If it’s hard…keep it out of the disposal.
The manual that comes with the disposal will specify what hard items cannot be put in the disposal. Pay attention to the list because you want to keep your disposal sharp and efficient. Never put bones, pits or shells from shellfish through the disposal.

Fiber is good for your digestive system…bad for the disposal.
Certain vegetable fibers will certainly jam your disposal and can cause drain blockages.

The following should not be put through the disposal:

Banana peels


Coffee grinds

Corn Cobs

Onion skins

Don’t shove…the smaller the better.

Rather than shove an item into the disposal, take the time and cut into small pieces. This is especially true when disposing of melon or grapefruit rinds.

Common sense will make a world of difference
If it’s not food, it doesn’t belong to the disposal.
If the disposal is running…the cold water should be running also.
And…keep the water running a full minute after you are sure the food waste has been eliminated. Never use hot water.

Clean means efficient.
A dirty disposal can cause an unpleasant odor. To prevent this, WHEN DISPOSAL IS OFF clean the inner side of the rubber lining in the center of the sink opening. A paper towel wiping on a regular basis will do the trick.
With the cold water running and the disposal on, toss in some ice cubes. The cubes will dislodge any debris on the edges.
Once in a while put in some citrus rinds. Be sure to cut them into very small pieces. The zest from the fruit will give off a nice odor.

Hands off!!!
Never, under any circumstances, put your hands in the disposal when it is running.

There’s a jam!
First turn off the power. Take a look under sink. In the center of the motor, on the bottom of the unit there is a space where you can use an Allen wrench and manually turn the motor.

Do this a few times, remove the wrench and try on the power again. If this doesn’t work, you can press the rest button/circuit breaker on the bottom of the unit.
If the unit still is not working, call Gaspar’s Plumbing  experienced, licensed plumber to come and take a look.

(818) 883-1072 or (805) 285-3018

Kitchen sink clogged? What can you do?

A clogged kitchen sink can be one of the most frustrating problems when you are already under a time crunch to get a meal on the table. One of the first things that should do is check to see if you have a clogged garbage disposal.

Contrary to a popular belief, you cannot put anything that you want down to your kitchen sink disposal. Foods with fibrous husks or peels, such as potatoes and carrots should never be run down the disposal.

But if you have a clogged disposal, here are some things you can try.

First of all never, ever, place your fingers inside of the disposal, Secondly, turn off the power to the disposal at the circuit breaker before you attempt to clear the clog. Find a pair of long tongs or other device that will allow you to remove any obstacle from the disposal. remove the debris and run hot water down the disposal. Visually inspect the disposal and turn the power back on. Turn on the cold water, run the disposal and see if the clog is removed. If it is not, call a licensed professional.

When you kitchen sink will not drain and you do not have a disposal, use a small plunger to free any clogs. Purchase a small plunger specifically for your kitchen if you do not already have one. If you have a double sink you will need to stop the other side of the drain in order to create a vacuum. This should clean most drains very quickly. The same approach will work if you have standing water in the kitchen sink. Again, if the clog does not clear quickly, call a professional plumber to help you fix the problem with you kitchen sink drain.

Call Us GASPAR’S PLUMBING (818) 883-1072 or (805) 285-3018