How to Find a Leak in Your House

May 12, 2019
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Leaks Can Run But They Can’t Hide

Water conservation has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. My father worked in landscaping for years when I was young, which is where he taught me about various pipe materials and methods for irrigation. As I grew, he was promoted until he reached a position at Tucson Water that we lovingly referred to as, “the water cop.” Everything from then on has been centered on water conservation methods, techniques, how to find a leak, and even timing my showers!

This may seem excessive, but every drop saved is a drop earned, almost like how we view saving money. Water isn’t an abundant resource, which seems to be a common misconception. I mean, just look at how much of the planet is covered in water, almost 70% of the Earth is covered in the stuff!

But what if I was to tell you that the ocean water is only 7 miles deep at its deepest point, the Mariana Trench? 7 miles can seem like a lot of water, but in reference to the actual earth, water only makes up a small percentage of the resources we have available. Just imagine how many layers there are within the Earth’s crust. Ocean water is a small sliver at the top of the layers.

As for drinking water? We have even less! So why should you care?

Water Leak Facts

On average, an American household’s leaks can account for almost 10,000 gallons of wasted water per year, and 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons in a single day!

But who are the main culprits?

  • worn toilet flappers
  • dripping faucets
  • leaking valves
  • sprinklers!

How to Find a Leak in Your House

Before you start digging through your house and yard for leaks, it would be helpful to identify if you have a leak. This seems obvious, but there have been several states with water monitoring issues on the city side. For instance, water companies overcharge for water usage due to clerical errors.

So, in order to determine if you have a leak, you must determine you are, in fact, wasting water. Here are a few tips to figure out if you have leaks within your home:

  • Take a look at your water usage during a colder month, such as January or February. If a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
  • Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
  • Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.
  • WaterSense partners have guides and videos that you might find helpful in finding and fixing leaks.

Tips courtesy of the © EPA

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