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March 2011
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CityLink Seattle

Fix a Leak Week is Here!

At a time when many people are looking to save money, homeowners could be unknowingly sending hundreds of dollars a year down the drain through water leaks.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average American home can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to leaks. In the Seattle-area, that’s up to $200 per year in utility charges literally going down the drain.

To highlight the money and water wasted by leaky fixtures, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and its 17 partner water utilities in the Saving Water Partnership (SWP), and the EPA have declared March 14 to 19 “Fix a Leak Week.”

““Fix a Leak Week” is designed to alert customers to the water and money they are wasting through dripping faucets, running toilets, and leaky showerheads,” said Arece Hampton, SPU’s Residential and Small Businesses Conservation Program Manager. “Fixing leaks is an easy way to put money back into your pocket instead of letting it run down the drain.”

Finding and fixing leaks is easier than most people think. Most replacement parts can be installed by do-it-yourselfers and quickly pay for themselves. The following are a few water-saving tips:

– Leaky toilets are the most common household leaks and are usually the result of a worn toilet flapper. Replacing the rubber flapper is a quick fix that could save a home up to 200 gallons of water per day.
– Faucet leaks are usually solved by simply replacing worn washers and gaskets. If necessary, replace the faucet with an EPA WaterSense-labeled model.
– 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.
– Underground leaks from service lines and in-ground irrigation systems often go undetected, so look for unusually damp or green patches in your yard.
– Landscape irrigation systems should be checked each spring before use to make sure they are not damaged by frost or freezing.

If homeowners need to replace a plumbing fixture, they should look for the EPA’s WaterSense label at their plumbing supply store. WaterSense-labeled toilets and faucets have been independently tested and certified to save water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

Visit www.savingwater.org for step-by-step repair videos and other water-saving advice.

Visit www.epa.gov/WaterSense/water_efficiency/fix_a_leak.html for more information about Fix a Leak Week. Information is also available in Spanish (En Español).