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. March 20-26 is “Fix a Leak Week,” an annual reminder to check your household plumbing fixtures for leaks. Here are some quick facts on leaks and easy tips to help you find them and make repairs!
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.)
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.