Fix-A-Leak Week is an annual campaign run by the EPA that involves all kinds of events across the country tailored towards raising awareness on the surprising amount of damage that leaks can cause. Of course – here at LeakAlertor, every week is Fix-A-Leak Week. But this week, we’re giving you daily insights into the world of water and leaks – with fun facts, tips, activities, and more. So be sure to tune in and catch our daily posts!

Today, we’re starting out with the basics.

Here are 10 tips for minimizing the damage caused by leaks!

General:

Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons in one year nationwide.

  1. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  2. A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.

Outdoor:

An irrigation system at 60 PSI with a leak the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.

  1. An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
  2. Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
  3. If you left a garden hose connected over the winter, there is a good chance your pipes will burst in the spring. Check the hose bib before you turn it on to make sure none of the pipes were damaged over the winter.
  4. Place a bucket filled with the same level of water as your pool on the second step, and mark the level with a marker. After 24 hours, if the water level in your pool lowers but the water level in the bucket did not, you likely have a leak.

 

Indoor:

A leaky faucet or showerhead that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.

  1. If your shower head has a leak it can usually be fixed by tightening the connection between the shower head and the pipe stem by using a wrench or Teflon tape, which you can find at your local hardware store.
  2. Install aerators on all household faucets to use less water.

 

Toilets:

A leaking toilet can waste around 600 gallons of water in one month.

  1. If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.
  2. An age-old test for toilet leak detection is the food dye or dissolvable dye-tab test. Drop a dye-tab into the tank of the toilet and check back 15 minutes later. If the color has seeped into the water in the bowl, you have a leak. However, be warned: dye-tabs can only tell you if a leak has occurred at the time of the test. It is not an ongoing test. Also, you may have a small leak that is not detected at that time, but grows to be much larger. And thirdly, if the flapper in your tank reseats incorrectly with a faulty flush and then properly reseats itself with a later flush, a dye-tab won’t be able to tell you if water was lost during that time because the toilet will be working fine!

So, if you truly want to monitor the biggest cause of accidental water wastage in your home (the toilet!) it’s important to use a system that watches out for leaks all day, every day.