Fix Leaks to Conserve Water

leaking faucet

Many in-home leaks are easy DIY projects. If ever in doubt, call a professional plumber.

If you see water on the ground (on a dry day) near your sidewalk or on the road in front of your house, call your local Department of Public Works immediately.


Toilets

The most common sources of leaks in the home are from leaking toilets. Sometimes a leak is obvious and you can hear the water “running”, but more often than not, leaks are silent.

All toilets should be tested for leaks on a regular basis. Even toilets that are just a few years old! The reason? Mineral deposits and worn toilet flappers. Flappers are an inexpensive, easy-to-replace rubber part that can be found at most hardware stores.

Test your toilet to see if your flapper is leaking:

  • Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank
  • Wait about 5 minutes WITHOUT flushing.
  • If any color shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

When replacing a worn toilet flapper, be sure to get a flapper designed for your toilet make and model.

Video from YouTube HomeOwner series.


Leaking Faucets

Corrosion, mineral deposits or defective parts are usually the cause of a leaking faucet, and it can waste hundreds of gallons of water a month. DIY fixes are not difficult and can save you from paying expensive plumbing fees. In addition to saving water, you’ll also be saving the energy it takes to heat the water.

If it’s time for a new faucet, be sure to choose a water-efficient WaterSense labeled model.

Faucet repair video from www.homefrontstan.com


Leaky Showerheads

Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. Pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, is available at most hardware stores, is easy to apply, and can help control leaks.
 
For more complicated valve leaks in showers that drip when not in use, contact an experienced handyperson or licensed plumber.

Outdoor Faucet Leaks

Outdoor leaks often go unnoticed because they aren’t always visible.  Check outdoor faucets for leaks on a regular basis during the spring and summer.

Outdoor faucet repair from the Alliance for Water Efficiency.


Additional ways to check for leaks:

  • Analyze your water bill.  If a family of four with updated fixtures exceeds 6,000 gallons per month over the winter, there’s a good chance that you have a leak somewhere in your house.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes, you probably have a leak.