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Could A Water Leak Be Costing You Money?

Water pulsates through our homes like a heart pumps blood through a body. Water services our bathrooms, sinks, toilets, showers, kitchens and laundry rooms. Our homes have hot water tanks that provide separate lines to each of these spaces so at any moment we have access to hot and cold water. In our homes, water is everywhere. For the most part, we take for granted the accessibility of water and do not give much mind to a potential water leak costing you money or could cause a serious pause in your life. Water leaks could be costing you money, and lots of it.

Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more per day. That means one out of every ten people are paying for water they aren’t even using. To help inform homeowners, the EPA developed a campaign they call the Fix a Leak Week and developed a Detect and Chase Down Leaks at Home Checklist. Homeowners can save 10 percent on their water bills by being proactive against water leaks and using these checklists. How else can property owners save money? 

Identifying Water Leaks in Your Home

The key to guarding yourself from wasting thousands of dollars on water leaks is to be vigilant in your home. Ask yourself this question at least once a year: “In what area of my home can I be experiencing water seepage?”

There are four ways to check for water leaks or seepage in your home:

  1. WATER METER. Your home’s water meter is your best tool for catching water leaks. A water meter tracks water usage, and there are dials on the meter that move when water is being used. 

A good first step is to turn off all water sources in your home. Make sure no one is using the bathroom, no laundry is being started and no one’s using the hose to water the garden. Check the meter and see if the dial is moving. If the dial is not moving, you have no major under-the-slab leaks; however, you still may have other minor leaks this test may miss. 

  1. TOILETS and SHOWERS. A typical water leak in a home is probably a faulty toilet flapper. If a flapper is faulty, the water level in the tank will be regularly falling and re-filling. The standard test for this is food dye. Use several drops of food dye in the tank and wait ten minutes to see if that food coloring has made its way into the bowl. If it has, it’s time for a new flapper. 

A shower can also be tricky, or better said, drippy. Many people live with a dripping shower. How much water can that be wasting? Surprisingly a lot. Twenty drips a minute amounts to 1,000 gallons of water per year and a shower that drips constantly wastes approximately 72,000 gallons of water per year, enough to fill four swimming pools. 

More Ways to Identify Water Leaks

  1. AUDIBLE SOUNDS. Paying attention to audible clues is also an important tool for combating home water leaks. A subtle sound can be a clue for a serious water leak problem. 

Homeowners should listen for hissing, whooshing and splashing sounds. These less obvious signs of a leak could point to a faulty appliance, a leak resting under your home’s foundation or even something hidden behind a wall. 

  1. VISIBLE CHECKS. Another tool we have to combat water leaks is the visible check. Checking faucet gaskets and washers for obvious water leaks will point to a weakness in your home’s water system and will help you ward off any serious future problems. 

Checking walls for discoloration and dampness also could be a sign of some behind-the-wall leaks. Being aware of your home’s sprinkler system as a potential threat for future leaks is equally important. Areas of the yard that are overly green and moist can be an indicator that a sprinkler line is gushing under the surface. A dime-sized puncture in a sprinkler line can waste around 6,300 gallons of water per month. That’s no small leak, but can easily go unnoticed as the water escapes into the recesses of your yard. Pay close attention to your home’s water system before you have to ask “could a water leak be costing you money?”