EPA Asks Americans to Join the Race to Stop Water Leaks WaterSense

WASHINGTON – Easy to fix household leaks account for more than one trillion gallons of water wasted each year across the United States, equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.

In the race against water waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging people to fix household water leaks during the sixth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 17 through 23, 2014.
Water leaking from dripping faucets, shower heads and worn toilet flappers in one average American home can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. These types of leaks are often easily correctable, in many cases requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

“A household can waste thousands of gallons from leaky plumbing fixtures and sprinkler systems, which is especially bad news if your community is suffering from a drought,” said Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Three simple steps—checking for leaks, twisting and tightening pipe connections, and replacing fixtures where needed can help people conserve water and save money on their utility bills.”

Finding and fixing leaks is simple to do in three easy steps:

Check for leaks. Look for dripping faucets, shower heads and fixture connections. Check toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank at the back of the toilet and wait 10 minutes before flushing to see if color shows up in the bowl. If there is color, the toilet flapper likely needs to be replaced, which is an easy repair to make. Check irrigation systems and spigots too.

Twist and tighten pipe connections: If your shower head is dripping, make sure there is a tight connection between the shower head and the pipe stem. It may just need a twist to tighten or some pipe tape to secure it.

Replace the fixture if necessary: If you’re in the mood for an upgrade, look for Water Sense labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “Chasing Leaks,” partners of EPA’s Water Sense program are sponsoring running races, hands on demonstrations, student contests, and other community events to raise awareness about the need to fix leaking plumbing and irrigation fixtures.

To learn more about finding and fixing leaks, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.

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