That drip coming out of your faucet might not be as harmless as you think. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at a rate of one drip per second, a faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year, while a shower leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more 500 gallons. When you add these up, the result is titanic. In fact, the average home’s leaks can account for 10,000 gallons of wasted water annually. Overall, household leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide every year—the equivalent of water use in more than 11 million homes.
To raise awareness and shed light on the impact that leaks can have on your home, American Water celebrates Fix a Leak Week from March 16-22. This week is sponsored by the EPA and highlights the negative effects of leaks on the average person and the world, while encouraging all to take the necessary steps to detect and fix them. By taking the initiative to find and fix leaks inside and outside the home, consumers can save money, about 10% on water bills, and also save valuable and sometime scarce water resources.
At American Water, we encourage everyone to become a savvier water consumer. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to proactively identify leaks in your home before a larger problem arises:
- Listen. One of the simplest ways to watch out for leaks is to listen for dripping from your faucets or showerheads and running water from your toilet.
- Watch the water meter and your water bill. If you notice a spike, it might be because of a leak.
- Test your meter. If you suspect you may have a leak, turn all water appliances off, then go check your meter. If it’s still changing, you might have a leak.
- Check for pooling. Look under the sink, beneath appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators, near the laundry machine and its pipes and below the water heater.
- Look for water stains. Leaks may not be obvious; there isn’t always a puddle in the corner. Check your walls and ceilings for stains. Keep in mind: water can settle after traveling long distances, so the place you see the stain may not be where the leak originates.
- Test your toilet. Leaks can occur in your toilet. Test for one by putting a drop of food coloring into the toilet tank. After 10 minutes, if any color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.
- Check outside. Examine the exterior of your home if you think you have a leak. If hoses are left on even a little, they can drip and result in wasted water over time. Irrigation systems can leak underground, causing mushy sod and other indications.
- Get an inspection. If you suspect something, you can call a professional to perform a full inspection.
For more information on how to handle current leaks and prevent future leaks from occurring, check out more tips here.