It’s Fix a Leak Week!

That drippy faucet is more than just an annoyance. It’s downright wasteful. One out of every 10 homes has leaks — often hidden from view — that waste nearly 100 gallons of water a day. Is your house one of them?

A leaky faucet, a toilet that constantly flushes on its own — it might not seem like much, but all that water adds up quickly. Did you know that about 14 percent of annual water usage can be attributed to leaks?

The Environmental Protection Agency has designated March 19-25 as Fix a Leak Week, and they’ve asked water utilities across the country to participate.

Here’s how you can take part — and make sure you don’t have a leak somewhere on your property.

  • Find your water meter. When no water is running indoors or out, the triangle or star on the face of the meter shouldn’t be moving. If it is, you have leak.
  • Place a dye tablet, food coloring or colored soft drink (Big Red is perfect) into the toilet tank. Don’t flush and wait 10 minutes. If color enters the commode, then you have a leak.
  • If you have outdoor spigots and there is a discoloration on the wall or driveway, you have a leak.
  • If you find areas in the yard that fit the description of wetlands or marshes, then you may have a leak.
  • If you have a pool and you don’t have automatic refill, but the pool level shrinks by more than 1½ inches per week, you may have a leak.

The EPA has provided links to more easy ways to check for leaks at your house. You can also download a 10 minute checklist from the EPA to learn where small leaks may be hiding in your home.

Finding leaks is not just a springtime affair. Keep looking for them throughout the year and save money. Possibly lots of money. And lots of water.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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