How Much Water Do We Waste?

Humans use a tremendous amount of water for tasks like gardening, showering, washing dishes and flushing the toilet. And while this use is part of the part of the earth’s hydrologic cycle, overuse and leaky plumbing causes clean water to be squandered.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leaks may cause a home to waste 10,000 gallons of water per year. United States households lose over 1 trillion gallons in total each year. Ten percent of American homes squander 90 gallons of water on a daily basis.

Water Waste 

A leaky faucet may result in the loss of 10 gallons of water. Toilet bowl leaks can cause 60 gallons of water loss each day. Antiquated or loose shower heads dribbling water at a rate of 10 drips per minute results in a loss of 500 gallons of water yearly. Overwatering of lawns and gardens also wastes water. Correcting these issues may save consumers 10% on their water bills.

Identifying the Problem

There are several ways to identify leaks that are causing water to be squandered. One way is to review winter water usage rates; the typical family of four may be suffering from leaks if winter water usage is higher than 12.000 gallons per month. Monitoring water meter readings when no water is being consumed provides another method of detection; the meter readings should remain constant over a certain period of time that water is not being used. Placing a drop of food coloring into the toilet tank and waiting 15 minutes to see if it appears in the bowl is a way to determine if a toilet is wasting water. A lawn does not need watering if the grass immediately springs back up after being walked across.

Fixing the Problem

The quickest way to ensure kitchen and bathroom fixtures are not wasting water is to make sure the connections are tight using a wrench and piping tape if necessary. If faucets and shower heads are still leaking, replacement of washers and gaskets may be required. It is possible that the issue lies with the faucet or shower head. In such cases, they should be replaced. Look for faucets or shower heads with the WaterSense label for efficient water usage. A professional Sacramento plumber can help with installation.

Over time, the rubber component of a toilet flapper deteriorates and mineral deposits accumulate. This prevents the flapper from creating the seal necessary to prevent water seepage. Replacing the flapper is a simple solution to water waste caused by toilet leaks. If the toilet is old, replacing it may make environmental and economic sense. According to the EPA, the typical family of four may prevent 16,000 gallons of water from being wasted and $2,000 in bills by retrofitting their home with WaterSense labeled toilets or a dual flush toilet.

Water conservation is not about ‘saving’ water but keeping enough clean water for all. Be kind to the environment and future generation by reducing water use whenever possible. The Ace Plumbing team can help assess, and address, wasteful water issues in the home. Call today!