All across the country, water conservation is more important than ever. One of the simplest ways to only use the water you need is to not let any go to waste behind the scenes. While the average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water lost every year, 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more a day.
As of July 13, 38.9% of the U.S. was in a drought—a 1.1% increase from June. But, even if you are not in an area affected by such conditions it is still important to be aware of ways we can improve our water usage footprints. And, one simple way to start is to identify the symptoms of an already-occurring leak, and some of the hidden causes of potential leaks around the house.
Here are some tips for managing your home in a way that will prevent leaks and/or catch them early:
- Test your toilet. Your toilet can be a source of a leak in the home. To test for one, put a drop of food coloring into the toilet tank. After 10 minutes, if any color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.
- Listen. One of the easiest ways to check in on your pipes is to listen for drips from faucets or showerheads and running water from your toilet.
- Stay alert during drastic changes in weather. If the temperature outside is going from hot to cold or vice versa, pipes will expand and contract. This reaction can cause pipes to crack. If you notice a change in water pressure or air in the water line during seasonal changes check your consumption patterns and call a professional to see if you have a leak.
- Keep an eye on your yard. One of the biggest menaces to service lines in your yard are tree roots. They can intrude on pipes and cause moisture to seep out into the yard. Watch out for new tree growth and look for new wet patches or sinkholes, especially in combination with a sudden drop in water pressure.
- Be a conscientious gardener. If left on even a little bit, garden hoses can result in wasted water over time. Meanwhile, irrigation systems have the potential to leak underground, so keep an eye out for mushy sod or pooling.
- Find a good, licensed repairman. One way to prevent leaks from ever happening is to make sure the right person is working on your pipes. Check with a reliable source before embarking on a DIY fix, and, when looking for help, be wary of those prices that seem too good to be true. Remember that spending a little more now can save more money, and water, in the long run.
As we see droughts across our country, it reminds us just how important our daily actions can be, especially when it comes to water. Because, when you boil it down, taking better care of our homes can, in return, take better care of our Earth.