The sound of a dripping faucet or running water inside the toilet is more than a minor annoyance; you are wasting water and pouring money down the drain. In fact, more than one trillion gallons of water are wasted each year in U.S. homes due to leaks. To raise awareness of the problem, the Environmental Protection Agency organized the “Fix a Leak Week” (March 15-21) campaign aimed at educating homeowners on how to locate and repair water leaks.
For example, during Fix A Leak Week, Pennsylvania American Water teamed up with plumbers to demonstrate how to find and repair leaks, as well as install water-saving fixtures. Live demonstrations for the media took place at the Ronald McDonald Houses in Hershey and Scranton; the Rainbow Kitchen in Homestead, Allegheny County; and Krause Youth Center in New Castle, Lawrence County. Pennsylvania American Water and many industry leaders are members of the EPA’s WaterSense program.
Leaks can account for an average of 10,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, or enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. These tips will help you save water -- and money -- by correcting household leaks:
Regularly check your toilet, faucets, and pipes for leaks. Pennsylvania American Water offers leak detection kits, which are available under the Customer Service tab of our Web site at www.pennsylvaniaamwater.com. If you find a leak, have it fixed as soon as possible.
Reduce faucet leaks by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replace them, or, if necessary, replace the faucet with a WaterSense-labeled model.
Leaky toilets are most often the result of a worn toilet flapper. Replacing the rubber flapper is a quick fix that could save a home up to 200 gallons of water per day.
For a leaky garden hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
Tighten connections on your showerheads if drips appear when the shower is off.
Check your garden and lawn irrigation system for leaks, or hire a certified WaterSense expert to check it for you.
Consider installing water and energy-efficient appliances. The EPA reports that certified Energy Star washing machines use up to 35 percent less water per load. Water-saving shower heads, toilets and faucet aerators also help cut your water usage.
If you have to replace plumbing fixtures, look for the WaterSense label. WaterSense-labeled toilets and faucets are independently tested and certified to save water and perform as well as or better than standard models. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for more information.
-Terry M. Maenza
Director, Communications & External Affairs
Pennsylvania American Water