The City of Palmdale is participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Fix a Leak Week program from March 15 through March 21 to encourage residents to find and fix residential leaks, which cost consumers money and wastes our precious water resources.
“Leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water in an average home every year—the amount of water it takes to wash 300 loads of laundry,” said Palmdale Landscape Superintendent Steven Montenegro. “As a WaterSense partner, we encourage consumers to find and fix leaks to save water in our community.”
Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. "These types of leaks are often easy to fix, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings," Montenegro said. “Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.”
To check for leaks at home, first determine if you are wasting water, and then identify the source of the leak. Here are some tips for finding leaks:
- Look at 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.
- Check the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, there is probably a leak.
- 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, there is a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
- Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.
Old or worn-out toilet flappers (e.g., valve seal) can cause leaks. Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can build up minerals or decay over time. Replacing them can be a quick and easy fix. To fix this leak, consult your local hardware store, home improvement retailer, or licensed plumber.
Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That's the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers!
A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in a dishwasher. Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. Pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, is available at most hardware stores, is easy to apply, and can help control leaks.
For an in-ground irrigation system, check it each spring before use to make sure it wasn’t damaged by frost or freezing. An irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers or local plumbing professionals. Irrigation professionals certified through a WaterSense labeled program can also check systems for leaks. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense to find WaterSense labeled products or an auditor in the Palmdale area.
For more information on Fix a Leak Week, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.