What can you do to stop wasting water?
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Small leaks can add up to higher-than-average utility bills for homeowners, as water and money drips down the drain.
Each year minor water leaks lead to water that's equivalent to the water used by 11 million homes go unused for its intended purpose, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The most common places to find household leaks are your toilet, sinks or water heater, according to American Residential Services (ARS), a Memphis, Tenn.-based provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services.
ARS offered the following tips for homeowners and their plumbing:
- Do a visual inspection of the toilet.
- If you notice rust spots on the floor or water behind the bowl, you may have a leak.
- Shut the water off by turning the valve behind the toilet.
- Check supply hose for loose connections.
- Once a month, check items beneath the cabinet to see if they are dry.
- If the items are always wet, then you have a leak, and you need to shut the water off.
- Leaks come from the drain pipe or the water pipe.
- If the leak is from the water pipe (continuously wet, even after drying), then shut the water off.
- If the leak is from the drain pipe, put a pan or bucket under the sink until a professional can come out and assess.
- Water heaters are typically in the basement, a closet, or attic.
- They can leak, but continue to operate (such as water coming through the ceiling).
- Check the water heater for moisture in the water heater pan and on top around the pipe connectors. If you notice rusting, moisture, or corrosion then you have a problem.
- Tip: Once a quarter, when you change your HVAC air filter, check your water heater for moisture and leaks (they’re typically in the same area of the house).
- If your water bill is higher than usual, but you’ve checked the house for leaks and didn’t find any, you may have a water leak underground.
- Another way to check for leaks is to turn off all of your home’s water-using appliances and read your water meter. If the flow-indicator arrow or the dials on your meter are still turning, then you have a leak.
- You can also detect leakage by learning how to read your water meter.
- Don’t forget to check your outside hose faucets for leaks (garden hoses, water sprinklers, etc.)
These preventative maintenance tips can help your plumbing continue to function properly, efficiently and safely.
Read more about ways to save water at home.