water conservationThe EPA is urging people to fix household water leaks this week, which has been designated asl Fix a Leak Week.

Easy-to-fix household leaks account for more than one trillion gallons of water wasted each year across the U.S., equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.

Save water and money

Water leaking from dripping faucets, showerheads and worn toilet flappers in one average American home can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. These types of leaks are often easily correctable, in many cases requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

“A household can waste thousands of gallons from leaky plumbing fixtures and sprinkler systems, which is especially bad news if your community is suffering from a drought,” said Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Three simple steps—checking for leaks, twisting and tightening pipe connections, and replacing fixtures where needed can help people conserve water and save money on their utility bills.”

Three steps

Finding and fixing leaks is simple to do in three easy steps:

Check for leaks: Look for dripping faucets, showerheads and fixture connections. Check toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank at the back of the toilet and wait 10 minutes before flushing to see if color shows up in the bowl. If there is color, the toilet flapper likely needs to be replaced, which is an easy repair to make. Check irrigation systems and spigots too.

Twist and tighten pipe connections: If your showerhead is dripping, make sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem. It may just need a twist to tighten or some pipe tape to secure it.

Replace the fixture if necessary: If you’re in the mood for an upgrade, look for WaterSense-labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

Events across the country:

  • New Jersey American Water is encouraging children to inspect their homes for leaks through a “Pint-Sized Plumbers” photo contest
  • The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is sponsoring a water conservation student art and essay contest.
  • The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association is holding its third annual “One for Water” four-mile race and family festival in Peoria, Arizona. The association’s mascot Leaky Loo McFlapper and Ewing Irrigation Products’ mascot Rowdy Rooter will serve as larger-than-life reminders that running toilets and leaky sprinklers are only funny when they are costumes.
  • The Water Use Efficiency Team and Recreation & Parks Department in Santa Rosa, California teamed up with the Sonoma-Marin Water Savings Partnership to kick off Fix a Leak Week at the third annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K race.
  • The City of Charlottesville, Virginia, is partnering with other local agencies to host the Fix a Leak Family 5K featuring a running toilet, leak detection kits, and hands-on demonstrations.
  • The Metropolitan North Georgia Planning District hosted a “Water Drop Dash” 5K race and water festival featuring water conservation education and activities along the Chattahoochee River.

Visit the Fix a Leak Week 2014 Event Map on the WaterSense Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EPAWatersense/app_137541772984354 to see if there is an event in your community. To learn more about finding and fixing leaks, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.