Beat the Leak: Check. Twist. Replace.

Posted Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Drip. Drip. Drip. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks—enough water to wash nearly 10 months’ worth 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 one trillion gallons of water lost every year.

Fixing household leaks not only saves water but reduces water utility bills—by more than 10 percent. Be for water and start saving today with three simple steps: Check. Twist. Replace.

1. Check. First, check your home for leaks. An easy way to start is to examine your winter water use. If it exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, 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.

2. Twist. 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 an 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—enough to do 14 loads of laundry.

3. Replace. 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 2,300 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 learn more?

Visit our page on WaterSense labeled products.