water waste - water leaks

Water Leaks Waste One Trillion Gallons Of Water A Year

For those of us who call California home, we’re well aware of the concerns regarding our water. Most Californians don’t know this, but we have grown in population by twenty million over the last 50-years–––that’s a lot of people. We are now around forty million in population and growing. In 2020 California grew by 6.1%. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the average person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. Flushing is the number one use of water in a home, followed by showers. If you do the math, using 80 gallons per day, it works out to 3.2 billion gallons of water a day per person, and that’s for personal consumption only. Now you have to add livestock, irrigation, mining, industrial, thermoelectric, agriculture, and aquaculture. 

10% Of Our Homes Have Water Leaks

To add insult to injury, according to WaterSense, a division of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that American households waste one trillion gallons of water each year. Every year in March, the EPA and WaterSense sponsors “Fix a Leak Week” to encourage homeowners to fix the leaks in their homes. It doesn’t stop there. We should be vigilant about water leaks in our home all year round. The EPA pointed out that 10% of our homes have water leaks. The problem is we don’t see them. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” 

We Cannot Let Our Guard Down When It Comes To Saving Water

It wasn’t that long ago when California was in a severe drought. We wouldn’t go a day without hearing something about saving water. While we are not affected by drought right now, that could change by having a couple of dry seasons. For example, Riverside County has just experienced the third driest February in 2021, over the past 127 years, and the 27th driest year in that same span. The point is this, we cannot let our guard down when it comes to conserving our water.  

Water Leaks Are Just One Way We Can Save Water

Aside from fixing leaks, consider installing low-flush toilets throughout your home. Toilets are considered an affordable fixture. A nice dual flush low-flow toilet is less than two hundred dollars. The new high-tech designs can use 1.1 GPF for liquid waste and 1.28 GPF for solid waste. The latest designs will not compromise on performance. Another low-cost way of improving the water output in your home is by installing low-flow showerheads. In the past, these showerheads felt like you were under a mister. That’s not the case any longer. The latest designs in low-flow showerheads provide an excellent shower experience. You could purchase one and expect to pay between twenty-five and fifty dollars.

A Small Leak Wastes 90 Gallons of Water A Day

Water Leaks Waste 1 Trillion Gallons Of Water

The average household water leak can waste 10,000 gallons of water per year, and you won’t even know it. A small undetected leak can waste 90 gallons per day. Many culprits in our home contribute to this problem, such as faucets, toilets, showers, and outdoor leaks in our irrigation. But keep in mind, most water leaks go unnoticed, especially irrigation leaks. Water leaks are like termites, we don’t see them until we check for them. And if we don’t check for them, they’ll keep eating away at our home. 

Test Your Home For A Water Leak

1. Turn off all the water in your home.

2. Most meters have a spinning leak detector. Some are in the shape of a triangle. If all your water is turned off, your leak detector should not be moving. 

3. Turn the water off to the irrigation, then recheck the meter. If your leak indicator dial stops, there is a leak in the irrigation. If it continues to move, then the leak is in your home.

4. If your meter does not have a leak indicator, check the reading on your water meter. Maybe you snap a picture of that number on your phone.

5. Wait 30 minutes and recheck to see if the number went up while all the water in your home is off.

6. If the meter number goes up, you have a water leak.

7. Again, shut the irrigation valve off and recheck the meter if it stops the leak is in the irrigation.

If Your Water Bill Is High, Check For A Leak

Have you ever picked up your water bill and thought, “Wow, that bill looks high!” Right away, we start telling the kids to take shorter showers. Then we start to think about how much we’re running the dishwasher and washing machine. Never once does it ever dawn on you that you may have a water leak. Put a couple of drops of food coloring in your toilet tanks, wait 10 minutes, and if any of it ends up in the toilet bowl, you have a leaky toilet. Check for leaky faucets and showerheads, and puddles around your irrigation. In the worst-case scenario, you may have a slab leak. Slab leaks can go undetected for days or even weeks. Run an inspection around your house for dark grout lines in your tiles, wet carpet, or laminates popping up.

Learn How To Find Leaks And Save Water

1. Arizona Municipal Water Smart Home Water Guide

2. Detecting household leaks (video)

3. Tips and tricks to find hidden water waste

Buy Product with The Water Sense Lable

WaterSense is a volunteer program that works in partnership with the EPA to educate and promote water conservation. If a manufacturer passes the stated efficiency and performance criteria set forth by WaterSense, the product is awarded the WaterSense label. 

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