Are water leaks costing you money? Periodically you should:
- Check all faucets for drips. Replace worn and leaking washers, gaskets, pipes or defective fixtures.
- Check for leaks on outside faucets, and make sure the valve closes properly.
- Check toilets for leaks--they are the most common cause of high bills! Check the overflow of the tank to make sure no water is running over (float level may be set too high) The flapper valve in the bottom of the tank is also a location of a possible leaking toilet. To check for a flapper valve leak, put a small amount of food coloring in the toilet tank after it has filled. Do not flush the toilet for at
least an hour, or overnight if possible. If the food coloring shows up in the bowl without flushing, you probably have a leaking flapper or plunger ball valve.
The following chart shows the amount of water that can be lost (and billed to your account) for various size leaks.
|A dripping leak consumes:15 gal. per day450 gal. per month||A 1/8 in. leak consumes:3,806 gal. per day114,200 gal. per month|
|A 1/32 in. leak consumes:264 gal. per day7,920 gal. per month||A 1/4 in. leak consumes:15,226 gal. per day456,800 gal. per month|
|A 1/16 in. leak consumes:943 gal. per day28,300 gal. per month||A 1/2 in. leak consumes:60,900 gal. per day1,827,000 gal. per month|
How to Check for Leak
Studies show that dripping faucets and leaking toilets account for as much as 14% of all indoor water use, equivalent to 10 gallons (38 liters) per person of water lost per day.Read Your Water Meter - Use your water meter to check for leaks in your home. Start by turning off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period.Take a reading on your water meter, wait for about 30 minutes, and then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak.Check for Leaky Toilets - The most common source of leaks is the toilet. Check toilets for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If after 15 minutes the dye shows up in the bowl, the toilet has a leak.Leaky toilets can usually be repaired inexpensively by replacing the flapper.
Check for Leaky Faucets - The next place to check for leaks is your sink and bathtub faucets. Replacing the rubber O-ring or washer inside the valve can usually repair dripping faucets. Use WaterWiser's Drip Calculator to measure and estimate water wasted due to leaks.Check out WaterWiser - A comprehensive clearinghouse of resources on water conservation, efficiency, and demand management.
- Toilets can account for almost 30% of all indoor water use, more than any other fixture or appliance.
- Older toilets (installed prior to 1994) use 3.5 to 7 gallons (13-27 liters) of water per flush and as much as 20 gallons (76 liters) per person per day.
- Replacing an old toilet with a new model can save the typical household 7,900 to 21,700 gallons (29,902 - 82,135 liters) of water per year, cutting both your water and wastewater bills.
- An average of 20% of toilets leak.