The U.S. EPA’s Fix a Leak Week is one of my favorite observances of the year. Why? It demonstrates that when it comes to water conservation and responsible water use, there’s no such thing as just a drop in the bucket. Furthermore, it puts the power to make an impact in the hands of every homeowner. And, lastly, leak awareness and activities during this one week can set in motion behaviors that become a regular part of homeownership year-round.
As we go into this year’s Fix a Leak Week, March 19-25, the facts about water loss in the U.S. due to leaks continue to be staggering.
- 1 trillion gallons: the amount of water lost every year thanks to leaks in all households.
- 10,000 gallons: the amount of water leaked annually from the average household; enough to do 270 loads of laundry!
- 5: the number of showers a person could take with the water lost in a single average household in a single day.
- 10 percent: how much the average household can save on its water bill by fixing leaks.
When it comes to leaks, our call to action for homeowners really doesn’t change much. Find them. Fix them. Stay on top of them.
Finding them. From simply listening and/or feeling for drips, to the food-coloring in your toilet tank test, locating leaks is something anyone can do in just minutes, not hours. I recommend the EPA’s “Checklist for Chasing Down Leaks” flier for everyone.
Fixing them. Not all leaks need to be handled by a professional, nor be costly. In fact, many of the most common household leaks can be fixed by the homeowner with a quick, inexpensive trip to the hardware store. Small leaks in sinks and showers, toilets and outside faucets are usually do-it-yourself fixes (click here from more advice from the EPA on fixing these types of leaks). Leaks involving appliances, sprinkler systems and outside water lines should be handled by a professional.
Staying on top of them. Unfortunately, household leaks don’t just “spring up” during one week in March. There’s no telling when a washer, hose, fitting or fixture might wear out. So remember, while detecting and fixing leaks during Fix a Leak Week is a great start, making this an ongoing practice is the key to avoiding unnecessary water costs and potentially destructive leak consequences.