Household Leak Detection
Water leaks can waste a lot of water and cause outrageous utility bills. Check for leaks around the home by reading your water meter and inspecting your toilet, faucets, showerhead, and even irrigation system.
There are many ways you can be a leak detective:
Check all fixture connections and see if any water is leaking through. Sometimes tightening is all that is needed. Consider adding an aerator (a twist on screen that adds air into the water stream) to your faucets to save water, without sacrificing the water pressure.
Many toilet leaks are caused from the flapper being broken or decayed. The flapper is the piece of rubber that is attached to the toilet handle that allows the water to flow into the toilet bowl from the tank after flushing. A quick flapper replacement should do the trick! Another common toilet leak is water flowing down the overflow tube. If this is the case, lower the water level in the tank to save water and reduce utility costs. If you can hear the toilet running, then that is a sure way to tell if you have a leak. You can still have a leak, even if you don't hear your toilet running! If your flapper looks fine and there is no water going down the overflow tube, a good way to test for a leaky toilet if your is to perform a dye test. Simply place dye into your toilet tank (do not flush) and wait for approximately 30 minutes to see if the water in the bowl changes to the dye color. If it does, then water is leaking from the tank. Be sure to flush after the test to remove the dye. Most toilet repairs are easy fixes and parts can be easily found at local hardware stores. Consider upgrading to a WaterSense labeled toilet to reduce your water use by 20-60%! Older toilets use as much as 6 gallons of water per flush, while newer water efficient toilets, such as WaterSense labeled models, use closer to 1.3 gallons per flush, while still providing equal or superior performance!
Showerheads can also get old and leak. A showerhead that drips 10 drops per minute can waste more than 500 gallons of water per year! Most leaky showers can be fixed by tightening fixture connections. A simple fix would include wrapping the leak with pipe tape, or consider upgrading your showerhead to a WaterSense labeled model to save water and potentially even money off utility costs.
Garden hoses and irrigation systems should be checked regularly, especially after winter to check for damage from frost or freezing. Make sure connections are tight. Pipe tape can be used for a quick solution to wrapping up any leaks.
Most repairs are easy fixes and parts can easily be found at a local hardware store, but contact a licensed plumber if additional help is needed. Visit our WaterSense webpage for more information about EPA WaterSense and ways to conserve water.