Written by Karen Wirth.
We can all use some simple tips for big savings on wasted water!
Drip. Drip. Drip, just the sound is annoying! But what’s worse is that sound means the average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks—that’s the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Now, take a minute and consider that across the country. Easy-to-fix household leaks can add up to more than 1 trillion gallons of water lost every year nationwide!
That’s why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® program is encouraging homeowners to find and fix leaks during the seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16 through 22, 2015. Fix a Leak Week reminds homeowners of the easy steps they can take to help save water in their community now and for future generations.
Fixing household leaks not only saves water but reduces water utility bills—by about 10 percent. Saving money and water does not have to be difficult. Just follow the three simple steps in this video: check, twist, and replace. Start saving today!
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 for a family of four, 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. Don’t forget to flush to avoid staining the bowl. Check out these do-it-yourself repair tips or contact a plumbing professional.
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 a WaterSense labeled 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—the amount of water it takes to shower 180 times!
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. For example, replacing an old, inefficient showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model will shrink your household’s water footprint by 2,900 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 reduce the average family’s water and electricity costs by more than $70 per year.
From family fun runs to leak detection contests to WaterSense demonstrations, Fix a Leak Week events are happening from coast to coast and are all geared to teach you how to find and fix household leaks.
Check out how you can get involved with local events on this interactive map:
Listen to these great Green Divas What You Can Do podcasts for more on water conservation:
~Asst. Ed. Green Diva Christine| Images via EPA Watersense