EPA Celebrates Fix a Leak Week

Reader Contribution by Environmental Protection Agency
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From March 19 through 25, the EPA is celebrating their annual Fix a Leak Week, which over the last decade has helped Americans become educated on the huge impact a small dripping in their home can have on the environment.

Small home leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, which is enough to provide water all year to 11 million homes. The average single household alone wastes more than 10 thousand gallons of water a year just from leaks that go unseen or unfixed. This amount of annual water waste is why ten years ago, the EPA introduced Fix a Leak Week to help educate Americans on finding and fixing leaks in their home.

The most common leaks found in the average home come from worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking pipe valves. Fortunately, these leaks are incredibly easy to spot and fix, requiring only a few basic tools that will pay for themselves in water savings. By spotting and fixing these minor leaks in our home, your water bill can drop by ten percent.

Spotting less common or major leaks in where the real detective work comes in. There are a few tips the EPA provides that can help homeowners find and tackle these leaks:

• Keep track of your water usage during colder months, such as January or February; if a family of four is exceeding 12 thousand gallons during these colder months, there are probably serious leaks happening behind your walls.

• Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period with no water use in the house; if your meter readings have changed, you probably have a leak on your hands.

• Place one drop of food coloring in your toilet tank; if any coloring shows up in your toilet bowl within 10 minutes, your toilet has a leak situation.

• Inspect your pipe fittings faucet gaskets for any water outside of the pipe; any water outside of the pipe is an obvious leak for you to fix.

Once you have identified the leaks in your own, many of them are luckily easy and cheap to fix! Most toilet-related leaks revolve around the condition of the toilet flapper, which is quick and easy to replace, without breaking your bank. Many times, leaky faucets or showerheads can be fixed using pipe tape, which can close up small leaks when applied correctly and tightly. There are also many online tutorials to help a home handy man fix leaks around the house.

If none of these tricks are helping prevent leaks in your home, it may be time to call up your friendly neighborhood plumber and replace a few pipes or faucets.

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