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Jun 19, 2017

Water Leaks: Find and Fix Them

Is your money drip, drip, dripping away? It could be and you may not even know it! The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year — that’s enough water to wash nearly 10 months’ worth of laundry. In fact, ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. During Fix a Leak Week, we celebrate this annual reminder to check your household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. Here are some quick facts on leaks and what you can do to find ‘em and fix ‘em quickly so you don’t waste another drop…or another penny!

Leak Detection

  • Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking showerheads.
  • A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water use. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if their water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  • One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. (Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.)

Faucets, Showerheads & Toilets

  • Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear, and replacing them if necessary.
  • Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • If your toilet is leaking, the culprit is often an old or faulty toilet flapper. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper, which is a relatively easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself project. If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for the WaterSense label.

Outdoors

  • Your irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

Fixing leaks means less water wasted and more money saved, so take a few minutes this week to ensure that your home is water-tight!

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