Drip. Drip. Drip. The average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks—that’s the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider that across the country, easy-to-fix household leaks can add up to more than 1 trillion gallons of water lost every year.
That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging homeowners to find and fix leaks during the annual Fix a Leak Week in March. Sponsored by EPA’s WaterSense® program, Fix a Leak Week reminds homeowners of the easy steps they can take to help save water in their community now and for future generations.
Fixing household leaks not only saves water but reduces water utility bills—by about 10 percent. Be for water and start saving today with three simple steps: Check. Twist. Replace.
First, check your home for leaks. An easy way to start is to examine your winter water use. If it exceeds 9,000 gallons per month for a family of four, you probably have leaks. Walk around your home with eyes and ears open to find leaks, and don’t forget to check pipes and outdoor spigots. You can also detect silent toilet leaks, a common water-wasting culprit, by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank and waiting 10 minutes before flushing. If any color appears in the bowl during that time, your toilet has a leak. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for do-it-yourself repair tips or contact a plumbing professional.
Apply pipe tape to be sure plumbing fixture connections are sealed tight and give leaking faucets and showerheads a firm twist with a wrench. If you can’t stop those drops yourself, contact your favorite plumbing professional. For additional savings, twist a WaterSense labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without noticing a difference in flow. Faucet aerators cost a few dollars or less and can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—the amount of water it takes to shower 180 times!
If you just can’t nip that drip, it may be time to replace the fixture. Look for WaterSense labeled models, which use at least 20 percent less water and are independently certified to perform as well or better than standard plumbing fixtures. Replacing an old, inefficient showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model will shrink your household’s water footprint by 2,900 gallons annually while still letting you shower with power, thanks to EPA’s efficiency and performance criteria. With less hot water passing through, WaterSense labeled showerheads can also save enough energy to power a television for a year.
Want to do more? Join thousands of your neighbors by supporting the We’re for Water campaign, organized by WaterSense. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense and take the I’m for Water pledge or “like” WaterSense on Facebook to share why you’re for water and learn more water-saving tips: www.facebook.com/EPAwatersense.
For more information and tips about how to save water during Fix a Leak Week, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.