There are some things it's hard to get around to doing -- even when they're making a 'drip, drip' noise. Celebrate 'Fix a Leak' week by checking your faucets, showers and toilets for leaks and then putting a stop to the flow. The EPA estimates that leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year in the U.S.
Even if you live in a place that doesn't suffer from drought, there are plenty of reasons to use water more efficiently. Supplying and treating water for your home requires a significant amount of energy. And efficient water use can reduce the amount of energy needed to treat wastewater and preserve existing streams and rivers.
Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets and showers. If your shower is leaking from the showerhead, apply a little pipe tape around the pipe stem and then screw the showerhead on. Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip every second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year.
Check your toilet for leaks
A leaking toilet can waste anywhere about 200 gallons of water every day. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 10 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which is cheap and easy to replace. New and improved high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush-that's at least 60 percent less than toilets made before 1992.
Watering the Lawn
If you have an in-ground irrigation system, check it each spring to make sure it wasn't damaged by frost or freezing. An irrigation system at 60 psi with a leak the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you may have a leak.
Don't waste water
Letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can reduce the amount of water you use while increasing water pressure. Heating hot water is responsible for 11 percent of home energy use. Remember to use cold water rather than hot to save energy. Get more tips on increasing your water heater's efficiency and reducing the amount of hot water you use.
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