The other day, I was at a customer’s house performing some routine heater repair and maintenance in a Bucks County town. During the course of my time there, I walked past the powder room several times and couldn’t help but hear the toilet running. You know what I mean — that constant sound of water that can keep you up at night when there’s no other background noise to muffle the sound.

Always ready to help, I asked my customer whether she realized that she had a leaky toilet. She stopped what she was doing and thought a moment, then answered that she was happy I noticed. Her toilet had been running intermittently for weeks, and she had been meaning to have it fixed but kept forgetting to call me.

I was happy to help her out! And not only because little annoyances can turn into expensive repairs over time. Just as important, small leaks can translate into huge amounts of wasted water with expensive price tags. Here are a few statistics, published by the EPA, that are sure to take your breath away:

Did You Know? …

  • On average, leaks found in households can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. That’s the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • It is estimated that 10% of US homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. That’s more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide, which is equal to the annual water usage consumed by more than 11 million homes.
  • A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. How many showers do you think that’s equivalent to? Try 180.
  • A showerhead leak dripping at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year, or about the same amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

I bet I have your attention now! The most common types of leaks found in homes across America include those caused by worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves. All of these leaks are easily correctable and can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills. Just think of the tremendous amount of water being wasted by so many households—not only is it expensive, but it’s also certainly not good for the environment.

Protect Your Home

You have good reason to be concerned about the long-term effects of leaks in your home, and not all leaks are easy to detect. Most often, it’s easy to detect a leak because you see or hear water dripping, but sometimes, it’s not that obvious.
Don’t panic. You can take the following steps to check if anything is amiss:

  • Review your winter water usage. A family of four probably has a serious leak problem if its water use in the winter exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.
  • Don’t use water for two hours, and check your water meter reading before and after. If the meter doesn’t maintain the same reading, you probably have a leak.
  • Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl ((without flushing) within 15 minutes, you have a leak. Flush immediately after this experiment–you don’t want to stain your tank.
  • Repair dripping faucets, toilet flappers and showerheads. Fixture replacement parts usually don’t require a major investment.

Stay Leak-Free

My customer was very happy to have her toilet fixed. What’s more, before I left her house, I noticed that the shower faucet in her son’s bathroom was dripping which I promptly fixed.

I mentioned to my customer that Cooper Mechanical offers a Whole House Plumbing Inspection Preventative Maintenance Agreement. Our skilled technicians inspect the operation of fixtures and equipment to ensure everything is functioning properly and visually inspect supply and drain connections for overall condition. This can help spot issues before they turn into expensive problems, increase the longevity of your entire plumbing system and give you peace of mind.

My customer signed up on the spot, and the relief on her face was apparent right away. I highly recommend a Whole House Plumbing Inspection Preventative Maintenance Agreement for all homeowners.

Have a plumbing or HVAC issue? The Coop is here to help. Read through our blog for tips on lowering your heating bills and protecting your home, and call Cooper Mechanical if you have questions.