SAN FRANCISCO -- The average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to easy-to-fix household leaks, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program. That amount of water could increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent while wasting precious resources. That’s why EPA is encouraging consumers to participate in WaterSense’s seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16 through 22, 2015, by finding and fixing leaks around the home.
If every household in California lost as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year to leaks, residents would be, cumulatively, spending more than $1.27 billion dollars on water lost to easily detectible and fixable leaks. California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. According to the U.S. drought monitor’s March 3rd report, over 98% of the state is experiencing drought conditions.
“During a severe drought, finding ways to conserve our precious water is everyone’s responsibility,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Household leaks in California may account for 137 billion gallons of water wasted each year.”
By following three simple steps—check, twist, and replace—consumers can save water and make their homes more efficient.
Here’s how to get started finding and fixing leaks:
Check: Look at your water meter, usually located outside your house, before and after a two-hour period of no water use. If the number has changed, there is likely a leak, which could be as simple to fix as replacing a worn rubber flapper in the toilet tank.
Twist: Fix dripping pipes, fixtures, or hoses by using a wrench to twist and tighten the connections. If needed, pipe tape can help seal shower fixtures or hose connections. Remind everyone in the house to turn faucets and showers off tightly, and check washers and valves for persistent drips.
Replace: For old or inefficient fixtures that are not easily repaired, look for WaterSense labeled models to replace them. These water- and money-saving high-performing products are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform well. You can find the label on the product packaging or the website of your favorite plumbing brand and they are available in a variety of styles and price at home improvement stores.
To help consumers find and fix leaks, EPA WaterSense partners are sponsoring running races, workshops, contests, and other educational events, for example:
- The San Dieguito Water District is hosting a simple home plumbing and irrigation repair workshop at the Encinitas Community Center on Monday March 16th.
- Customers that pay their bills at the Rowland Water District office will receive a free giveaway bag including dye tablets, a kitchen aerator, and informational brochures.
- The Irvine Ranch Water District is hosting a contest for leak detectives. Contest participants should submit photos of leaks they’ve found and fixed. For each photo submitted, participants will receive an entry to win a $500, $300, or $100 gift card to Home Depot.
- The Coachella Valley Water District is partnering with local vendors to host a Water Wise Leak workshop on Thursday March 19th. The event will feature exhibits, giveaways, and a prize drawing.
- The Chino Basin Water Conservation District is offering a free water audit kit to the first 1,500 households to request one. The kit includes a home water conservation guide, dye tablets, and a tool to compare flow rates for standard showerheads and faucets to flow rates of high-efficiency models.
Visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak to learn more about finding and fixing leaks. The WaterSense Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EPAWatersense also has a map to help you find Fix a Leak Week events in your community.