Leaky pipes may be causing more damage to your home and wallet than you realize

PHOENIX - Cities across the Valley are empowering residents to take the 10-minute water challenge to help detect, and hunt down leaks on their property.

Christian Delgado, a Water Resource Specialist for the City of Phoenix said the average household's leaks could account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. 

That's a lot of water down the drain. Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually, nationwide, which is enough to provide water all year to 11 million homes.

That's also a big drain on your wallet. Even a leaking toilet or irrigation line can add up to hundreds of dollars on your water bill. Phoenix water experts say fixing easily corrected leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

"Imagine turning on a faucet and just letting it run non-stop. That's the same as a toilet running non-stop," said Charles Kramer, the owner of Accurate Leak Detection.

The Phoenix Water Smart team has put together a checklist of things you can do to hunt down leaks. 

Here are the highlights:

  • Take a look at your bills during the cooler months. If a family of four exceeds 12.000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks.
  • Check your water meter, and after a 2-hour period of no water usage, if the meter changes at all, you have a leak.
  • Identify toilet leaks by packing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after ten minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
  • A showerhead leaking at 10 drops per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher. Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the shower head and pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. For more complicated valve leaks in showers that drip when not in use, contact an experienced handyperson or licensed plumber.
  • Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.

The City of Phoenix is holding several workshops this week to teach residents how to find and fix leaks, care for your lawn in the desert climate, landscape watering, rain gardens, and more about where your water comes from.

The schedules are posted at this link HERE.   

You can access the city's Smart Home Water guide HERE.

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