The average household loses 10,000 gallons of water a year to leaks—enough water to wash nearly a year’s worth of laundry–the equivalent of 270 loads of laundry. Households could save 10 percent on their water bills with inexpensive and easy repairs. For national Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, the City of Santa Fe is urging water users to chase down those leaks and start saving.
The most common leaks involve worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and leaky shower valves and all are easy to fix.
Bad toilet flappers are one of the prime culprits for household leaks. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays or gets covered with mineral deposits. Replacing the flapper is an easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time. Fixing a toilet flapper leak can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month. To check for a toilet leak, place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, your toilet has a leak.
The culprit on a leaky faucet is usually a worn washer or gasket. Online tutorials can help you with this easy fix. Leaky showerheads often can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem using pipe tape on the pipe stem before attaching the showerhead.
An easy way for you to check for leaks is to check the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
The Santa Fe Water Conservation Office staff is offering free dye tabs to check for toilet leaks and distributing brochures and information on “how to” videos through plumbing retailers and water bills during Fix a Leak Week. To get the free toilet dye tabs, visit the Water Division office at 801 West San Mateo on Flapper Friday, March 20 from 10 am until 2 pm while supplies last.
Brochures on how to replace a toilet flapper and fix other leaks are available through local plumbing retailers. Water Conservation staff can be reached year-round at (505) 955-4225 to answer customer questions on how to fix leaks.
The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of 11 million homes. Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
Fix a Leak Week is celebrated in March of each year as a time to remind Americans to check their household fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. Fix a Leak Week is a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program in partnership with the New Mexico Office of State Engineer.
For more information on identifying and repairing household leaks or to learn more about WaterSense-labeled products, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/fix_a_leak.html and the Fix a Leak page of the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer.
The Bad Flapper, Santa Fe’s symbolic villainess of household water leaks, first appeared in conjunction with national Fix-A-Leak week in 2012, and she returned in 2014 to continue to raise awareness of how small fixes can add up to big water savings.