Leaks can be a real drain on resources and occur in a number of places at home, including faucets, showerheads, toilets, and outdoor spigots and irrigation systems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® program, common household leaks can also add 10 percent to a family’s water bill.
Finding and fixing leaks to save money and water does not have to be difficult. Just follow three simple steps: check, twist and replace.
Check: Look at your water meter (usually outside your house) before and after two or more hours when no water is being used, perhaps while your family is at work or school. If the number has changed, there is likely a leak. To check for silent toilet leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes before flushing. If the color appears in the bowl before you flush, the toilet flapper probably needs to be replaced.
Twist: Remedy dripping pipes, fixtures or hoses by twisting a wrench to tighten the connections. If needed, twist pipe tape around shower fixture or hose connections to seal them. Teach kids to turn faucets and showers all the way off, and check washers and valves for persistent drips. If you’re not the “do-it-yourself” type or you have a bigger leak on your hands, you can consult a licensed plumber.
Replace: For old or inefficient fixtures that are not easily repaired, replace them with WaterSense-labeled models. Toilets, faucets and showerheads that earn the WaterSense label are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models. You’ll stop those nasty leaks and realize even more water savings in the process. These water- and money-saving products are available in a variety of styles and prices; look for the WaterSense label on boxes or websites of your favorite plumbing brand.
Following these simple steps could save the average family more than 10,000 gallons of water each year, or the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry! For ideas and events during Fix a Leak Week, March 16 to 22, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.