The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year - enough to fill a backyard swimming pool!
Although many leaks announce their presence with an all-too-familiar, torturous drip sound, others can go undetected for a long period of time. This is money down the drain!
A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day, and the leak is not always visible or audible. To test for "flapper" leaks, put a coloring agent (food coloring, egg dye or other water-soluble color) in the toilet tank, and check to see whether any of the color leaks into the toilet bowl within ten minutes. (Be sure to flush after the experiment to prevent staining of the toilet bowl.)
Check float ball assemblies for corrosion of metal components that may prevent the shutoff of water refilling the tank. Such leaks won't show in a dye test but can cause great water loss.
If the leaking toilet is an older model, you'll see even more water savings if you replace it. A pre-1980 toilet uses nearly 4 times more water than a newer high-efficiency toilet. MWU offers $100 rebates to customers who replace older toilets with new WaterSense models.
Toilet rebate program information »
Leaky Faucets and Fixtures
At one drop a second, a leaky faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water in a year.
It can be easy to overlook a leaking fixture located outdoors or in an infrequently used bathroom.
Many faucet leaks can be solved by checking washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
Drip Calculator, American Water Works Association »
How Does Your Water Use Compare?
Take a look at a recent water bill. If you are using significantly more water than an average household of your size, especially during the winter months, you might have a leak.
Using Your Meter to Check for Leaks
Locate the meter in your basement and check it before and after a "no use" period.
This is easily done overnight, or before and after leaving the house.
If there is a change to your meter during this period, you might have a leak. (Make sure the water softener isn't cycling when you check this.)