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 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 10th report, over 98 percent 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 City of San Francisco is promoting Fix A Leek Week through web and social media, the agency’s online billing portal, and by giving away two faucets.
- For its annual St. Patrick’s Day race on March 15th, the City of Santa Rosa will encourage runners to chase leaks: A “running” toilet will join the race and mile markers with water-saving tips will line the race route. Before and after the race, a booth will give out leak detection kits and provide information about water-saving rebates.
- The Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties’ Regional Water Authority is teaming up with the Sacramento Bee to host the 2015 Water Spots Video contest, encouraging students to submit public service announcements relating to the theme “BEAT THE LEAK: Find and Fix leaks fast.”
- The South Tahoe Public Utility district is offering a free toilet leak detection kit, and also featuring leak-fixing tips on the “water conservation” section of their website.
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.