If you think the tiny drip from your bathroom faucet doesn’t really waste all that much water, think again. Leaks in the average American home account for about 10,000 gallons a year – or about 12 percent of your annual water bill. That’s enough water for 270 loads of laundry.
What happens when you combine your small drips with billions of leaks across the country? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water in the United States each year. A 1 followed by 12 zeros is a pretty large number, right?
Put it this way: Texas is roughly 270,000 square miles. One trillion square miles would equal 3.7 million Texas-sized states.
Still don’t think every drop counts?
That’s why College Station Water Services invites you to observe Fix a Leak Week through Sunday. Sponsored by the EPA’s WaterSense® program, Fix a Leak Week highlights ways to improve household water efficiency by helping you find and fix leaks.
How to identify leaks
To determine if you have leaks, check your meter and go two hours without using any water. If the meter changes, you probably have a leak. A leak the thickness of a dime in your irrigation system can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Another good way to detect a leak is to monitor your water use in the winter. A family of four that exceeds 12,000 gallons per month probably has leaks.
Once you know you have leaks, you can resolve the problem in three easy steps:
- Check for the source of the leaks. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Check for silent toilet leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank and seeing if it appears in the bowl before you flush. Don’t forget to check irrigation systems and spigots, too.
- Twist and tighten hose and pipe connections. To save more water without a noticeable difference in flow in your bathroom faucet, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator.
- Replace the fixture, if necessary. Look for WaterSense-labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models. If your sprinkler heads spray the driveway and pavement as well as the grass, adjust the spray pattern or switch to an efficient multi-stream nozzle. Check with your licensed irrigator for the most efficient products.
If you aren’t handy with a wrench, contact your favorite repair person, plumber or licensed irrigator to address leaky toilets, faucets, showerheads, and irrigation systems.
As a WaterSense partner, we can help you conserve our water supply and save money on your utility bill. Call College Station Water Services at 979.764.6223 to schedule a free sprinkler system checkup and check our website for more water saving tips.
Water Resource Coordinator