It doesn’t take much to save a lot

It doesn’t take much to save a lot

You don’t have to know the difference between a flathead screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver to check for a leak in your toilet.

EPA graphic on leaks

So, what’s stopping you? Do you like wasting money?

It’s doubtful. So, in honor of Fix a Leak Week, let’s take a moment to learn how to check and see if your toilet is leaking.

Nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide can be wasted due to household leaks, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. And while leaks can be fixed all year long, Fix a Leak Week seems a good time to remind everyone that leaks can run, but they can’t hide.

Of course, toilets aren’t the only thing that can leak in your home. In order to ensure you’re not wasting water or money, it’s important to also inspect leaks at your faucets, showerheads, and outdoor faucets and watering systems.

The EPA estimates that nationwide, 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. That’s a lot of perfectly good water going to waste.

OK, so if you’re not as familiar with the toolset in your garage. That’s OK. The EPA has some handy tips on checking for leaks sans toolbelt.

  • Pull out that water bill. Look at the 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. The average residential water use per multi-family connection is 367 gallons per day, or, 11,377 gallons per 31-day month, according to the Texas Water Development Board.
  • 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. (Water meters are typically located near the curb in front of your property in a box marked “water” or in a meter pit with a cast iron lid.)
  • 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.)
  • Pay attention. Keep an eye on the walls and the ceilings of every room. If you start to notice unusual staining or discoloration, you could have a hidden leak.

You’ve found a leak; now what? The EPA has a variety of explanations for fixing leaks on its website and if that doesn’t do the trick, check with your local plumber.

Catch the silent leaks inside and outside your home before they become even more costly headaches.