1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 10, 2008

:010 Water Damage

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip.

1:5:10:010 Tip: There are many ways that buildings can become water damaged. Few situations will ever be as extreme as when levees broke after hurricane Katrina.

When water damage does occur it is important to get a specialist in water damage involved as quickly as possible to help return the building to a safe and habitable condition and prevent mold growth. Just because materials feel dry to the touch doesn’t mean they are. Moisture meter measurements are the only way to be sure of what is going on below the surface. The time to learn what to do when a pipe breaks or a tree-limb comes crashing through the roof during a rain storm is – before it happens! Of course prevention is best, but accidents still happen.

FEMA tells us that a quarter of buildings that get flooded from disasters are located in areas that were not deemed to be prone to flooding. So if you don’t know what to do when water strikes, you should spend another 5 minutes reviewing some basic information below.


New Orleans after Katrina, credit: Jocelyn Augustino –  FEMA


Additional Information

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification www.iicrc.org is the place to go for flood damage restoration company referrals. They have tips for minimizing post flood damage at http://www.certifiedcleaners.org/water_damage.shtml



Listed companies must promise to abide by the IICRC’s code of ethics and be insured.


You can read more information about preparing and protecting your home from floods and other extreme weather events in my new book Extreme Weather Hits Home Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change. Published by New Society Publications. www.extremeweatherhitshome.com


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January 9, 2008

:009 Hidden Water Leaks

Suggested Review – :001, :002, :007, :008

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.


1:5:10:007 Tip: Sometimes water leaks may not be obvious. To locate hidden leaks shut off all your taps so that no water is being used. Now check your water meter and record the reading. Let it sit for awhile. Overnight is best, then check the meter reading again and record the difference as well as how much time has elapsed.

If the reading has changed something is leaking or someone used the water. If there is a leak, you may be able to determine the approximate location by looking for abnormally wet areas of soil for the incoming line. Other sources of hidden water leaks may include sprinkler systems or broken pipes in slab foundations. This can be a serious situation if it isn’t discovered early and taken care of since the water can migrate a distance through the slab and the excess moisture cause mold and rot in building materials and contents. There are special leak detection companies that use listening devices to “hear” the location of the leak to help pinpoint repairs.

If indoor water leaks have caused water damage, it can result in big expenses and lead to mold if you don’t act quickly. That’s the topic of tomorrow’s 1:5:10 Tip.


Additional Information:

You can calculate how much hidden leaks are costing by wasting water by multiplying the difference in the meter readings by an appropriate factor.

If you determined hidden water leaks by checking the difference after 6 hours then you would multiply the units of water by 1460. For 12 hours multiply by 730 and for 24 hours use 365.


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January 7, 2008

:007 Water Leaks

Filed under: :007 Water Leaks — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :001, :002

Welcome to day seven of 1:5:10:365 toward becoming a better steward for our home and planet.


1:5:10:007 Tip: Today’s the day to really look for dripping faucets and plumbing leaks. I don’t have any sophisticated methods. Just look everywhere. If you find something dripping, put a container under it and collect the drips too see how much is being lost. There are 748 gallons to a unit of water, so by totaling your loss you can see how much is being wasted. The collected water can then be used to water plants or flush toilets until the plumber can fix it, or you may be able to turn off the shut off valve to stop the leak until it is fixed.

Tomorrow we will look at how to read your water meter. 


Additional Information

To calculate how much water a drip or leak is wasting, time how many seconds it takes to collect 1 cup of water. Divide 2635 by the number of seconds to determine the number of units of water that would leak in a year. You can multiply this by the dollar amount you recorded in your journal for day :002 to see how much that leak would cost each year.

As an example if it takes 1 minute to fill a measuring cup:

2635 ÷  6o seconds = 44 units (32,000 gallons each year – enough to fill a swimming pool). At $1.15 that’s about $50 a year being wasted.


Journal Entry: Record the 1:5:10 time you spent, how much water is leaking per year and the cost of that water. Also record how much you paid to have the leak fixed. We will be determning cost/benefits later.


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