EPA Encourages Homeowners to Fix Water Leaks

WaterSense partners are sponsoring contests, demonstrations & events throughout the week

Fix a Leak Week EPA WaterSense

Easy-to-fix household leaks account for more than one trillion gallons of water wasted each year across the United States, equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes. In the race against water waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging people to fix household water leaks during the sixth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 17 to 23, 2014.

Water leaking from dripping faucets, showerheads and worn toilet flappers in one average American home can account for more than 10,000 gal of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. These types of leaks are often easily correctable, in many cases requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on their water bills.

“A household can waste thousands of gallons from leaky plumbing fixtures and sprinkler systems, which is especially bad news if your community is suffering from a drought,” said Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Three simple steps—checking for leaks, twisting and tightening pipe connections, and replacing fixtures where needed can help people conserve water and save money on their utility bills.”

Finding and fixing leaks can be done in three steps:

  1. Check for leaks. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads and fixture connections. Check toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank at the back of the toilet and wait 10 minutes before flushing to see if color shows up in the bowl. If there is color, the toilet flapper likely needs to be replaced, which is an easy repair to make. Check irrigation systems and spigots too.
  2. Twist and tighten pipe connection. If your showerhead is dripping, make sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem. It may just need a twist to tighten or some pipe tape to secure it.
  3. Replace the fixture if necessary. WaterSense-labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20% less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “Chasing Leaks,” partners of EPA’s WaterSense program are sponsoring running races, hands-on demonstrations, student contests, and other community events to raise awareness about the need to fix leaking plumbing and irrigation fixtures.

The following are some of the events WaterSense partners are holding across the country to raise awareness during Fix a Leak Week:

New Jersey American Water is encouraging children to inspect their homes for leaks through a “Pint-Sized Plumbers” photo contest, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is sponsoring a water conservation student art and essay contest.

The Arizona Municipal Water Users Assn. is holding its third annual “One for Water” four-mile race and family festival in Peoria, Ariz. The association’s mascot Leaky Loo McFlapper and Ewing Irrigation Products’ mascot Rowdy Rooter will serve as larger-than-life reminders that running toilets and leaky sprinklers are only funny when they are costumes.

The Water Use Efficiency Team and Recreation & Parks Department in Santa Rosa, Calif., teamed up with the Sonoma-Marin Water Savings Partnership to kick off Fix a Leak Week at the third annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K race.

The City of Charlottesville, Va., is partnering with other local agencies to host the Fix a Leak Family 5K featuring a running toilet, leak detection kits and hands-on demonstrations.

The Metropolitan North Georgia Planning District hosted a “Water Drop Dash” 5K race and water festival featuring water conservation education and activities along the Chattahoochee River.


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