Leaks Can Run, but They Can’t Hide
Are you ready to chase down leaks? Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so each year we hunt down the drips during Fix a Leak Week. Mark your calendars for Fix a Leak Week 2017, March 20-26, 2017 but remember that you can race over to your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems, fix the leaks, and save valuable water and money all year long.
Why Save Water?
- Water is a finite resource—even though about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, less than 1 percent is available for human use.
- Forty out of 50 state water managers expect water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their states over the next decade.
- Each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day at home.
- We can all use 30 percent less water by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
- The average household spends as much as $500 per year on their water and sewer bill and can save about $170 per year by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
Facts & Statistics
- Approximately 5 to 10 percent of American homes have water leaks that drip away 90 gallons a day or more! Many of these leaks reside in old fixtures, such as leaky toilets and faucets. In fact, water lost by these leaky residences could be reduced by more than 30,000 gallons if new, efficient fixtures were installed. If the 5 percent of American homes that leak the most corrected those leaks—it could save more than 177 billion gallons of water annually!
- Using WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories could reduce a household’s faucet water use by more than 500 gallons annually—that’s enough water to do 14 loads of laundry.
- WaterSense labeled faucets and faucet accessories can reduce excessive flow volumes by more than 30 percent without sacrificing performance.
- If one in every 10 homes in the United States were to install WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories in their bathrooms, it could save 6 billion gallons of water, and more than $50 million in the energy costs to supply, heat, and treat that water.
- If all inefficient toilets in U.S. homes were converted to WaterSense labeled models, we could save more than 640 billion gallons of water per year—the equivalent to 15 days of flow over Niagara Falls.
- If homeowners with irrigation systems use a certified irrigation professional to perform regular maintenance, they can reduce irrigation water use by 15 percent or nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually. That’s the equal to the amount of water used to take 500 showers.
Checking for Leaks
To check for leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you’re wasting water. Then identify the source of the leak.
- Take a look at your water usage during a colder month, such as January or February. If a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks.
- Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
- Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 15 minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
- Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.