Smart Water Use
Stop the Leaks Lurking in Your Home!
Small drips in your home can quickly add up to many gallons lost. A dripping faucet can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day. A steady leak – from a hole only 1/16th inch in size – can add up to more than 1,000 gallons of water wasted each day.
Most leaks are easy to find, but some are not so obvious. If you notice a sudden spike in your water bill, here are some places for spotting—and stopping—the leaks lurking at your home:
- Your water meter: Your water meter is a great place to check for leaks that are not readily apparent. Here is what to do: First, turn off all water inside and outside your home. Then, look at the meter’s leak detector gauge (this is the small red, black or blue dial or triangle). If the triangle is spinning when everything is off, you likely have a leak that needs repair.
- Toilets: Toilet leaks rank among the biggest water wasters--typically 30 to 50 gallons per day. Find toilet leaks by putting a drop of food coloring in the tank and waiting 15 minutes. If color seeps into the bowl without flushing, there is a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.) PCWA offers free test kits to check if there is a slow leak in your toilet. For your kit, contact PCWA Customer Services at (530) 823-4850.
Showerheads: A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year – equal to the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher. Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. If you are replacing a showerhead, look for one that has earned the WaterSense label.
- Dishwashers and clothes washers: Check your washing machine hoses for cracks that could result in leaks, and look for drips or stains underneath or behind these appliances, which could also indicate a leak.
- Faucets: Check faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replace them if necessary. If you decide to replace a faucet, look for one that has earned the WaterSense label.
- Sprinklers: Most water use--and water waste--occurs in the landscape. Check your sprinklers for leaks each spring before turning your system on for the watering season. Also, check your garden hose for leaks where it connects to the spigot.
When you find leaks, turn off water to the problem area until it can be repaired. Often only minor repairs are needed to stop leaks, and fixing leaks can be as simple as replacing a washer or toilet flapper. Learn more about finding and fixing leaks from the WaterSense program on the EPA website and from Regional Water Authority at BeWaterSmart.info.