Drip drip drip.
Leaky faucets can be annoying, expensive and bad for the environment. It is the EPA’s 10th annual Fix a Leak Week, and we’re taking the opportunity to encourage everyone to ensure that the pesky drip-drip-dripping is out of our lives for good.
What’s the big deal with leaks?
Here are just a few facts from the EPA to get you thinking about the implications of a leaky faucet or toilet:
- The average household can leak more than 10,000 gallons of water every year.
- A single leaky faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year.
- Nationwide, we waste one trillion gallons of water per year. (Psst: that’s the amount of water used by 11 million homes in one year.)
- Fixing leaks can save up to 10 percent on water bills.
How do I know if I have a leak?
There are a few simple ways to identify whether or not you have a leak in your home:
- Check your water bill. Is it noticeably higher than other months? If so, has your usage changed drastically? If not, you may have a leak.
- Turn off your water and note the gallons used on the water meter. Wait 20 to 30 minutes and compare. If there has been an increase in the water used, it’s safe to assume that there is a leak.
When is it my job to fix a leak?
Knowing when a leak is your responsibility versus our responsibility is a common question, so don’t feel alone.
Field Supervisor James Watson of Aqua Ohio is here to help clarify. “Aqua is responsible for maintaining and repairing all water-mains, valves and hydrants in the water distribution system, as well as the company-owned portion of residential service connections,” he said.
If you have identified a major leak that you think is our responsibility to fix, make sure to get in contact with us. If the leak doesn’t fall into the categories mentioned by Watson, though, then it is most likely the responsibility of the homeowner. One thing to keep in mind is that homeowners are responsible for maintaining the residential service line and the easement lines that enter their homes.
Otherwise, a general rule of thumb is that if the leak is within your home, it’s your responsibility. Things like boilers, hot water tanks, internal pressure pumps, faucets and toilets are all the responsibility of the property owner. One exception is your water meter—but only if it is housed within the residence. Luckily, fixing most of these leak areas is a fairly simple process.
How do I find the leak?
Toilets and faucets are the most common places for there to be leaks, so it could be helpful to check them first.
Faucet issues are easy to identify; if you see or hear them dripping, you’ve got a leak. Toilets, on the other hand, are a little bit more difficult. An easy way to check for a leaky toilet is with food dye:
- Drop the food dye into the toilet tank.
- Wait 15 to 20 minutes.
- If the dye has made its way from the tank to the toilet itself, there is a leak.
If you’re really having trouble identifying a leak, check out our step-by-step guide to detecting these issues.
I found the leak, but I don’t know how to fix it.
If your faucet is the problem, it most likely requires you to replace a washer. This process is very simple, and if you’re comfortable with using some fairly basic tools, it won’t be an issue at all. Check out this helpful walkthrough from HowCast:
Toilets are a bit more complicated, so watch this video from Home Repair Tutor for tips on fixing one of the most common toilet leakage issues:
Of course, if you are feeling uncomfortable completing any of these tasks, or if you have a leak that you are unsure how to fix on your own, make sure to call your local plumber.
We want everyone to be aware of their water usage and how they can fix leaks. Join us in identifying and fixing a leak this week to cut down on the trillions of gallons of water that we waste every year.