Did you know that ten percent of homes are estimated to have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day? The good news is that typical sources of leaks are often easy to fix, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. And fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save you about 10 percent on your water bill. If you're concerned about a leak in your home, follow the tips below to identify and repair the most common types of household leaks:
A running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water or more per day.
The most common cause of a toilet leak is the rubber flapper valve. Over time, the valve becomes worn out and it does not seal shut anymore. Replacing it is usually a quick and easy fix. One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Also, be sure to check the intake hoses for signs of leaks.
A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of 1 drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. That's the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers.
Most faucet leaks can be reduced by checking the washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. These are inexpensive, available at most hardware stores, and easy to install.
A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons of water per year.
Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection between the showerhead and pipe stem by using pipe tape to secure it. You can also check and, if needed, replace the washer inside the showerhead.
In-ground irrigation systems, garden hoses, and spigots are often the source of leaks outside of the home. An irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. If you have an in-ground irrigation system, check it each spring before use to make sure it wasn’t damaged by frost or freezing. Check your garden hose for holes and leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
If you have determined you have a leak and find that these tips aren't enough to fix them, you might consider replacing your leaking fixtures with new, water efficient ones or consulting with a plumbing professional.