by Keith Bancroft
MMWD and water agencies across the country are teaming up with U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program to promote the fifth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 18 – 24, 2013. This is to remind everyone to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation system for leaks that, collectively, waste more than one trillion gallons of water from U.S. homes every year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami combined!
The Water Research Foundation conducted a study of the end uses of water in the average home and found that water leaks account for 14 percent of overall indoor water use. What does this mean, exactly? Considering that the study found the largest end uses of water in the average home are the toilet (26 percent), followed by the clothes washer (22 percent) and shower (17 percent), the water lost to leaks (14 percent) is almost equal to the amount used for showering! So, next time you’re taking a shower, imagine that the same volume of water running down the drain is being lost to leaks—every day! And if you’re in the shower, you won’t have to look very far to find the most common source of household leaks: your toilet.
Our Conservation staff has conducted over 3,600 site visits to homes over the past five years, testing over 7,500 toilets for leaks during this time, and found a leak in almost 20 percent of all toilets tested. Yikes! So, there’s good news and bad news here. The bad news is that about 20 percent of toilets in our service area are leaking, and each leak can waste hundreds of gallons per day. The good news is these leaks are often fairly easy and inexpensive to repair.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency’s “Home Water Works” website offers several helpful videos on how to test your toilet for leaks and how to make repairs if you do find a leak.
If you’re thinking of taking it one step further and replacing your old toilet (or faucet or showerhead) with a new high-efficiency WaterSense model, the “Home Water Works” web site also offers several helpful do-it-yourself videos on fixture replacements.
Now that you know where to look, what to look for, and how to stop it from happening, get out there and Fix a Leak!