A Tell-Tale Drip
Drip. Drip. Drip. We’ve all heard it, and generally, try to ignore it. But have you ever thought of how much water is literally going to waste and how much that could be costing you? Generally it is a fairly easy and affordable repair, whether it is a flapper or a washer. Being aware and doing something about it as soon as you can will always be better than just putting it off for another day, because the problem with drips is they generally worsen over time. Don’t compound the problem by waiting.
That Drip. Drip. Drip. At one per second adds up to about 3,000 gallons a year. The average leaking toilet is 200 gallons a day or 6,000 gallons a month. The combination of the two would fill nearly 4 average residential size pools at 19,000 gallons each in one year’s time. On average a family household of 4 could go through 9,000 to 12,000 gallons or 12 to 16 units a month with just the normal usage.
|Drips Per Minute
|Gallons Per Month
|Gallons Per Year
What is that extra water loss costing you, you might ask? Well that depends on where you live. Also keep in mind this is not based on if you are on a well but a city utility. But if you figure on each unit (the measurement that most utilities will bill you on, 1 cubic ft. = 7.48 gallons, and 1 unit = 100 cubic ft. or 748 gal.), you will more than likely be between $3-4 per unit. Therefore, if you have a toilet leak that is roughly 6,000 gallons/8 units a month, that could cost you from $24-32 a month. And to make things worse, usually that bill comes quarterly in which you would have compounded 3 months of accumulated water loss, and that bill quickly multiplies to $72-96. Not to mention the fact you will still need to take time to repair the leak and/ or pay someone else too. Did I mention, more than likely all you needed was a $3-15 flapper? Drip. Drip. CHA-CHING…
Pro Tip: Drips can become leaks, leaks can become streams, and streams can become floods.
With that being said, here are some ways to stay on top of leaks and help identify them as they are happening or before it’s a major problem.
- Invest in a home water monitoring device, such as a Flo smart meter by Moen. Not only will the meter inform you of your usage via phone app, but it will also turn the water main off in the event of a high volume leak to help reduce potential damage to your home. https://meetflo.com/
In addition, to check for leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you’re wasting water, and then identify the source of the leak. Here are some tips for finding leaks: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/fix-leak-week
- Take a look at your 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 your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have 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, you have 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.
- WaterSense partners have guides and videos that you might find helpful in finding and fixing leaks.