Helpful tips for finding and fixing leaks

Fix those leaks

Did you know on an annual basis household leaks waste one trillion gallons of water nationwide? That’s enough water for over 11 million homes. Fixing those leaks makes you more water efficient and lowers your water bill.  Leaks around the home are usually easy and cheap to fix and parts can be found at home improvement stores.

Don’t ignore those leaks, they could get worse over time driving up your water bill. March celebrates Fix a Leak Week from March 19 – 25. So now’s the time to inspect your home for leaks.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Check your meter: When no water is being used check your water meter. If the dials or counter are moving, you may have a leak. Please note you may find critters inside the meter box.

Toilet flapper:  Place 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 toilet afterwards to avoid staining.) A leaking toilet flapper can waste 1,000 gallons per day.

Faucets: Over time washers and gaskets frequently cause faucets to leak. One drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s enough for 180 showers.

Fittings and hoses: Check the water pipe fittings and hoses to your fixtures for any signs of leaking water.

Showerheads: Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem by using pipe tape to secure it. Please note: If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.

Outdoors: Check your garden hoses for leaks where they connect with the faucet. Replacing the hose washer can stop it from leaking.  If you have an irrigation system check for leaks or contact a licensed professional to inspect your system.

 There are many online tutorials on how to fix leaks. If you are not comfortable with making the repairs yourself contact a licensed plumber. For more information regarding Fix a Leak Week visit:

The Facts on Leaks

Household leaks can waste more than 1 TRILLION gallons of water each year.

Yes, 1 TRILLION—That's a one with 12 zeros behind it (1,000,000,000,000). Those drippy faucets and leaking toilets are more than an annoyance; they cost you lots of money, and they waste LOTS of water. To check for leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you're wasting water and then identify the source of the leak.

Here are some tips for finding leaks:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks. EPA

Take the 10-Minute WaterSense Challenge!

Print and Complete this Helpful Checklist