Common Plumbing Problems That Waste More Water Than You’d Think
It’s common knowledge that the world is mostly made up of water, but did you know that 97% of it is saltwater. That leaves 3% freshwater, and of that 3%, only 1% is actually drinkable. This is why water conservation is a major thing that everyone should be doing.
Sometimes we think that a leaky faucet or pipe isn’t that big of a deal. We think “it’s only a few drops, can’t be too much”. This is not true, as a leak can waste over 3,000 gallons of water each year. It’s important to know where leaks are more likely to happen so that we can keep an eye and prevent wasting precious water.
“The number one place that water is wasted in the home is the toilet,” said John Moore Services Senior Operations Manager Joe Bany. “A lot of times people will have a toilet that constantly runs or it will have a little leak inside. It is usually an internal component failure where water leaks into the bowl causing the toilet to run all day long. The only way to know if you have a leak is by sound. You will hear the toilet run or trickle, and it will fill up in the middle of the day.”
The most common reason for a toilet leak is directly related to the flapper. The flapper is a round rubber disk that is connected to a chain, and its purpose is to lift up as the toilet is flushing to release water into the bowl. Flappers need to be replaced every 3-5 years because over time the rubber starts to decay, or minerals build up on it from the water. An old flapper allows water to leak from the tank, and this small water leakage adds up over time.
The shower and faucet valve are major sources of water waste and although they are visible, most people do not pay attention to them. If you have a leak, when you turn the shower or faucet off, it will continue to drip all day long. Most people do not notice this leak because anytime they are in the shower the water is on, which makes it very easy to overlook.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a showerhead leaking at a rate of 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons of water per year. That’s the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher. As showerheads and faucets get older, their components don’t shut off the way they were designed to, causing them to leak. The best way to prevent leakage is to make sure all connections are tight. But if you have leaks and want to replace them altogether, purchase a showerhead or faucet that has earned a WaterSense label.
Leaking Outdoor Faucet
A hose bib is the outdoor water faucet protruding from your house that you hook your garden hose to. During the summertime, many people hook a hose up to the bib and the hose will have a sprayer on the other end that is not secured properly. They will leave the water running but will have the sprayer function off. Because of the loose connection and the running water, water will drip all day long at the point where the sprayer meets the hose.
“Many times the hose bib will have an internal leak and will drip constantly,” said Bany. “People don’t notice that leak either because they turn the faucet off, go inside, and don’t look back to see it dripping. Also, it drips into grass so there will be no puddle of water or evidence of a leak unless you are standing there watching it.”
Tips for water conservation
- Don’t leave hoses hooked to hose bibs and turned on. This always creates a leak and will cause you to waste a lot of water.
- Always get regular maintenance done on your AC unit, water heater, water filtration system, and water softener because if you don’t, they will not work they way they are designed to and end up wasting a lot of water.
- Don’t take hour-long showers. A four-minute shower uses anywhere from 25-40 gallons of water.
- Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they are completely full.
- Only water your yard when you need to, and when you do water it make sure it is early morning or at night when the sun isn’t out. A good way to tell if your lawn needs water is to step on your grass. If your grass springs back up then it is fine, if it doesn’t then it needs some water.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Only run water when you absolutely have to.
- If you have a half-full glass of water and you are done with it, never put it down the drain. Find another use for it like watering a plant or your garden.
- Install water saving devices throughout your home like high-efficiency toilets and washing machines.
Not sure if all of your plumbing fixtures are working to conserve water for you? Give us a call at John Moore Services to have one of our skilled plumbing technicians take a look for you!