In the midst of winter rains and snow, worrying about your household water usage and possible water leaks may not seem very important. But for leaking faucets and running toilets, two very easy fixes can significantly lower your water bill plus help prevent any long-term damage from leaking water.
If you are not sure whether there are any leaks in your home, check your winter water usage. When a family of four is using more than 12,000 gallons per month, that is a sign of leakage. You can also check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, this indicates there is a water leak in your home.
First, look to see if there is a puddle around a faucet that is turned off. Another way to determine if your faucet is leaking is to wrap a towel around the faucet and see if it collects water throughout the day. If you find that you have a leaky faucet, you may be able to fix it yourself. Check the washer, gasket, o-ring and valve to see if they are worn and, if so, replace them. You can purchase faucet repair kits at a hardware or home store, or even online. A faucet repair kit will include instructions on how to replace the parts and will contain those necessary parts.
A troublesome, running toilet can waste four times more water than a faucet leak! One running toilet can waste as much as 1,000 gallons of water per month. If you are unsure whether your toilet has a leak, place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 10 minutes without flushing, this indicates a leak. Again, depending on the amount of water leaking and water costs in your area, a moderate toilet leak could cost you an additional $70 a month.
Do I need to hire a plumber to fix my running toilet? The good news is, not necessarily! Determine what is causing the leak -- for instance, if it is a faulty flapper or floater, you can buy a replacement kit from a hardware store or home center and install it yourself. If your toilet is old and inefficient, you may want to replace the entire toilet. A new high-efficiency toilet could save you over $2,000 in water bills over the lifetime of the unit.
It doesn’t make sense to waste money on leaking faucets and toilets, not to mention the environmental impact of all of that wasted water. A few easy repairs may be the simple answer to reducing water consumption and lowering water bills.