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Fix a Leak Week
Information courtesy of EPA WaterSense...
Fix a Leak Week is celebrated in March of each year as a time to remind Americans to check their household fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. The average householdís leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. Thatís equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes. Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves.

A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. Itís likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak. One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.

Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. Itís usually best to replace the whole rubber flapperóa relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.

An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing. To ensure that your irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with an irrigation professional. Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

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