This year's national "Fix a Leak Week" wraps up on Sunday, but it is never too late to test and fix those potentially problematic plumbing concerns.
Promoted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), the week serves as an annual reminder for Ohioans to check their fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks that could potentially damage the water quality and cost lots of money in wasted utilities.
According to a PUCO press release, household leaks across America can waste more than a trillion gallons of water annually. That adds up to a lot of wasted money, said PUCO spokesman Jason Gilham.
"We want to let people know that there are cost saving measures they can take," said Gilham.
The commission often fields calls from people confused about abnormally large water bills, he said. These bills are usually the result of a leaky faucet or toilet, he said.
The state EPA has some easy steps people can take to check these fixtures for leaks, said Heather Lauer, OEPA spokeswoman.
Leak prevention tips
Reduce faucet leaks by checking faucet and shower head washers and gaskets for wear.
Silent toilet leaks can be found by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank and checking the bowl for color after a few minutes or before flushing. Replacing a worn rubber flapper is a quick, affordable fix.
Check the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, a leak is probably present.
Review your water bill. If a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons per month during the winter, leaks are likely.
For a leaky garden hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
Source: Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
"People can reduce faucet leaks by checking the faucet and shower head washers and gaskets for wear. If necessary they can replace these with a WaterSense label model," said Lauer.
To check toilets, homeowners just need to grab a small bottle of food coloring, she said.
"Silent toilet leaks can be found by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank," she said.
If the water in the bowl begins to turn colors before being flushed, a leak is likely, she said.
Lauer also recommended people check their water meter before and after a two hour period of not using water. If it has moved, there is a leak, she said.
As far as outside plumbing goes, leaky garden hoses can be fixed by replacing the nylon or rubber washer at the point where the hose attaches to the water source.
For more information, including videos on detecting and fixing leaks, visit the EPA's "Fix a Leak Week" website at www.epa.gov/watersense.