Before we go into what measure you can take for Fix a Leak week, let’s go into the history of this event.
The WaterSense division of the EPA started Fix a Leak week sevenÂ years ago to remind Americans to identify and repair leaks in their household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems.Â WaterSense and its partners, including cities, companies, and non profits engage in week long educational activities and events around the country. This year it is taking place from March 16, 2015 through March 22, 2015.
How much water is wasted?
It is estimated that the average American home loses approximately 10,000 gallons each year due to leaks coming from dripping faucets, running toilets and other leaking valves. This amounts to 1 trillion gallons of water annually around the US. The good news is that it’s an easy problem to fix. The first step to take is to determine if you have a leak.Â Please see the WaterSense Fix Leak events page to find an event near you.
How to determine if you have a leak?
- Check your water bill. If you see an anomaly in the pattern of your gallon usage, e.g. spikes, chances are you have leaks.
- Observe your water meter, say for a 1 to 2 hour period. If you have not been using any water and the meter changes, you probably have a leak.
- Go through house and listen for drips in the toilets and faucets. There is an easy way to tell for sure with your toilet. Simply drop a toilet leak detection dye tablet in your toilet tank. These leak tablets have a harmless food coloring giving them a blue or green color. If there is a leak, the color will show in the toilet bowl without flushing.
What steps can you take?
- The first step to take is to fix the leaky fixture. So if the leak is coming from your toilet, changing out the toilet flapper or flush valve is the easiest way to fix the problem. If it’s a faucet or valet, get a wrench and tighten
- If you have older plumbing fixtures e.g. showerheads, faucets, toilets, consider replacing them with WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures. In most cases, the investment can pay for itself in a matter of months. For example, investing in a 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) low flow showerhead can cost less than $10, and can help you save thousands of gallons if you have a showerhead that dispenses water at 2.5 gpm or more.
- When installing a new showerhead, wrap the shower arm with teflon tape. This tape is specially produced to reduce the likelihood of experiencing shower leaks.
Save Water, Save Money
By taking these steps, not only will you be saving water, but also energy as it takes a lot of energy to heat the water. A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 per month. So fixing the leaks can result in significant water and energy savings as well as lowering your utility bills. So spend a few minutes this year identifying and fixing those leaks.