Q&A

Troubleshooting

My water looks “dirty”. How can I get it to clear up?

Try running the cold water only* for 10 to 15 minutes, just at one faucet. When the cold water no longer looks dirty, turn on the hot water and run it until the water is clear.

*By not running the hot water until the cold runs clear, you’ll keep discolored water out of the hot water tank.

Why is my water “milky” colored?

This is probably caused by air in the water. You can check by filling a glass with water. If the bubbles rise to the top, it is air. To remove air from the line, try running a faucet at the highest location in the house, usually a second floor bathroom, for about 15 minutes. If the problem persists, call us at (716) 593-3333.

What are the white particles clogging my faucets?

This may be the result of the filler tubes in some hot water heaters breaking down. It’s most likely to happen with newer water heaters, those less than 4 or 5 years old. The plastic in the filler tubes sometimes breaks down into granules that look like powdered soap. According to filler tube manufacturers, the problem has been solved. A replacement tube is available and can be easily installed by a plumber or handy homeowner.

My water seems to be running slowly, what is the cause?

Try to determine if the problem is only with one faucet. If so, it may be a plugged faucet filter screen. You can unscrew the screen and clean it.

If more than one faucet has low pressure the cause may be one of the following:

  • The shutoff valve (located before the meter) may be open only 1 or 2 turns. Open the valve all the way.
  • There is a problem with the supply line. Check to see if your neighbors are having the same problem with their water flow. (It’s a good idea to do this before calling a plumber!) If the problem affects more than your house, call us at (716) 593-3333.
  • The pressure regulator (if you have one) may not be working properly. You will need a plumber to test and replace the valve.

How do I check for toilet leaks?

Toilets can be checked for leaks in the following ways:

  • Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait for about 1/2 hour. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. The stopper in the tank toilet bowl is usually the cause. It may not be sealing properly or it is worn and needs to be replaced.
  • Remove the lid from the tank and flush the toilet. Once the tank is filled check to see if water is still running in the bowl or if you continue to hear water running. If so, check the water level in the tank. If the water level is above the overflow pipe, you are losing water. Put a little powder in the tank to check this. If water is leaking out the overflow pipe, the powder will disappear. The float then needs to be adjusted or replaced. Keep the water level at 1/2″ to 1″ below the top of the overflow pipe or as indicated on the pipe or tank itself.

Where is my shutoff valve located?

The valve is normally just ahead of the meter on the wall facing the street at the point where the water service pipe enters the building.

How do I treat my water in an emergency?

Boiling is the surest way to make water safe to drink. Vigorous boiling for one minute will kill any disease-causing microorganisms in water. The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by pouring it back and forth from one container to another to aerate it, by allowing it to stand in the refrigerator for a few hours, or by adding a pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled.

For additional information visit The Office of Drinking Water.

I don’t have any water, has it been shut off for non-payment?

If you have received a delinquency notice and have not made arrangements by the shut-off date, your service probably has been shut off. Call the office at (716) 593-4950 during normal business hours (8:30 to 4:30). If your account is current, your water may be off for emergency repair work. (See the line Q&A page.)

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