Friday, March 2, 2012

Fix a Leak

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Facts on Leaks

The average household's leaks accounts for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, enough water to wash nearly 10 months' worth of laundry.

Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more a day.

Common leaks include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking showerheads, all easily correctable.

Fixing these leaks can save homeowners more than 10 percent on their water bills.

Leak Detection

A good method to check for leaks is to review your winter water use. A family of four has a serious leak if winter 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.

Place a drop of food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes, without flushing, you have a leak. (Flush immediately to avoid staining bowl once you see the color.)

A leaky faucet dripping one drip per second wastes more than 3,000 gallons per year.

Faucets and Showerheads

Fix leaky faucets by replacing washers and gaskets for wear.

A showerhead leaking 10 drips per minute wastes 500 gallons per year, enough to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by retightening the connection using pipe tape and a wrench.


If the toilet is leaking, try replacing the flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays or gets mineral build-up.

Watersense toilets can save more than 16,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.


Irrigation systems should be checked each spring to ensure they were not damaged by frost or freezing.

An irrigation system that has a leak barely the thickness of a dime can waste 6,300 gallons per month.

Check garden hoses for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks when you run the hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and use pipe tape and a wrench for a tighter connection.

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