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Don’t Let a Leak Break the Bank!

2013 August 1


By Lina Younes

Recently, when my family and I came back from vacation, we noticed that one of our toilets was leaking. It wasn’t leaking outside the bowl itself. Luckily we didn’t have any water damage. It just hadn’t stopped flushing. The water was running inside the bowl. I thought that was odd. I fixed it and was hoping that it hadn’t been running continuously while we had been away. After the event, I didn’t think more about it and settled back into the daily routine.

Well, I just received the water bill. Guess what? The water bill was DOUBLE what it normally is and we had not even been home for nearly two and a half weeks. Yikes! So, even though we have WaterSense toilets in our home, that leak prevented that toilet from performing efficiently. We learned our lesson. A leaky toilet can do a lot of damage to your home AND your wallet. Did you know that easy-to-fix household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually in the United States alone? That is basically the equivalent of the amount of water used by more than 11 million homes across this country in one year.

Given that water is such a precious resource, what are some simple things that you can do in the home to save water?

  • Well, first of all, fix water leaks in your home. As I learned the hard way, there is no leak too small. Repairing leaks in your bathroom, kitchen and overall plumbing fixtures will reduce water use and help you save money.
  • Turn the tap off while shaving or brushing your teeth. That is the easiest one to implement immediately, plus it’s a good habit to teach your children at an early age.
  • Take short showers instead of long baths.
  • When using the washing machine or the dishwater, make sure you have a full load.
  • When watering your garden, make sure to do it early in the morning.
  • Install water efficient plumbing fixtures with the WaterSense Label.

Do you have any other water savings tips you would like to share? I’ll leave you with a useful WaterSense tool,  which will help you calculate your water savings. I hope it helps you to go green.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. joy permalink
    August 5, 2013

    Here in the Philippines, one way of conserving water is turning off the toilet flush and just pour in water to the toilet . In that way you can control the amount of water you use in flushing the toilet. Especially when you pee , when you flush the toilet more water are being use. But when you just pour water from the pale or “timba” you will use a little amount of water to flush your pee.

  2. troxstar permalink
    August 5, 2013

    The other side of the coin is where the water goes. If you are connected to a septic system, they are often not sized to handle that flow. I was involved in a mobile home park that had a septic system with problems that was later determined to be a leaky toilet. The elderly woman living there did not hear the toilet running. A meter to her trailer indicated flows of around 900 gallons per day! The leak was fixed and a very expensive septic system repair was avoided. A typical residential system is sized at 400-500 gallons per day.

  3. dewaz permalink
    August 5, 2013

    I had same experience, we just forgot to close our bathtub for 2-3 hours. It cost us a lot. Since water now became more and more expensive we should take care ‘em for more.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink*
    August 6, 2013

    Thank you for all your comments. Keep them coming.

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