Did you know that across the US, leaks cause a waste of more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually? Yep! That’s a lot of water! This week is Fix a Leak week, so let’s take a look at simple ways to identify leaks, and how to remedy them.
Fix a leak week culprits – Do you have a leak anywhere?
The easiest way to check to see if you may have a leak is pretty straight-forward. Tell everyone in your house to abstain from using water for an hour or two, then head out to look at your water meter. Take note of the meter reading. After an hour or two (make sure nobody used any water or this won’t work!) go back and check the meter reading again. Has it changed at all? Then you’ve got a leak!
Some of the other ways to check can be even more obvious; do you hear the occasional bathtub drip? You can put an empty cup beneath each of your faucets when they are not in use and come back in an hour or two – if there’s water in them, you’ve got a leak.
To test if your toilet is leaking, one website mentioned adding a few drops of food coloring into the tank of the toilet. (Again, don’t use the toilet during this time, so plan ahead.) Come back thirty minutes later. Is there any color change in the bowl of the toilet? If so, your toilet is leaking.
So what’s the best way to celebrate Fix a Leak week? By fixing those pesky leaks, of course!
When a leak is obvious, like in the event that a sink is dripping, the fix can be pretty simple. This Old House (one of my favorite shows) has step-by-step guides on how to fix several types of faucet leaks. Similarly, you don’t need a plumber to clean up a slowly dripping shower head – check out Bob Vila’s advice on shower head leaks here.
Toilet leaks can often be super easy to fix! The cause is often an old or worn-out valve seal. They’re cheap rubber parts (around ten bucks) that anyone can buy at a big box stores like Lowes, or from your local hardware store. Need a guide on fixin’ the toilet flapper? Check this one out.
The less obvious ones may need a plumber to diagnose them. If your meter readings are moving and you’re unable to find an obvious leak, it’s time to call the plumber. You might not like the bill that comes with the plumber, but it will reduce your water bill. Water leaks can be a cause of rot and can lead to larger problems in the long-run. If in doubt of whether you can fix the leaks, call a professional plumber.
So go on, check your water meter today, and get those pesky leaks fixed!