According to the EPA, a surprising 10 percent of households waste 90 or more gallons of water each day without even knowing it. The culprits of this crime are often simple and deceptively small—a dripping faucet, small pipe leak or sink valve. Combined, however, their trench warfare dent on your water bill, and on national water waste, can be anything but tiny (one trillion gallons are lost in the US each year due to leakage). Check out these tips and tricks for fighting leaks on your own home turf.
Wage War Against Leaks:
• Monitor your monthly bill. Spikes in your water bill without a known cause (such as outdoor irrigation) may indicate a leak.
• Check your meter. Find a time when no water is being used, and read the meter at the beginning and end of two hours. If the water level changes, you likely have a leak.
• Test your toilets. Squeeze a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If you see any color in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. Toilets can silently waste up to 200 gallons per day, per toilet, so if you find a leak and can’t fix it yourself, reach out to a plumber to save yourself a spike in water costs.
• Replace worn or warped toilet flappers. If you have a silent toilet leak, the culprit is likely a worn or warped flapper. These flappers often break down through contact with the chlorine-based cleaners in your toilet tank, but they are also inexpensive and easy to replace.
• Twist on savings. If your faucet drips, tighten connections and replace the aerator with a WaterSense labeled model to save water without a noticeable difference in flow.
• Nip the drip. Leaky showerheads caused by a loose connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem can usually be fixed by wrapping the pipe stem with pipe tape.
Don’t give up—taking just ten minutes to address these simple techniques can help you reign victorious on the home front. For more tips about how to improve water efficiency inside and outside your home, check out www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.