Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Water Wasting 101: It’s Curable!

Celebrate the EPA’s Fix-A-Leak Week in March

In our house, the quarterly water bill is one of our financial measuring sticks. With effort, our family of 6 (2 adults + 4 almost-adults that love to shower) can average a water bill of about $276 per quarter (note: we have a gas furnace, not a radiator). In our most recent quarter, we hit a new all-time high: $302. The water bill has been gradually inching upward for the past year.

We have several inside-the-house water usage issues. Long showers, combined with a shower faucet that leans toward ‘leaky’, are one problem. I’m guilty of letting the kitchen tap run while I re-arrange the dishes in the dishwasher or look for food in the fridge. Our three ‘full flush’ toilets see a lot of action. Add about 15-20 loads of laundry each week and I’m certain that we fall into the ‘water waster’ category.

Step 1 on the road to water-waster recovery is recognizing that we have a problem.

According to the EPA (source: http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html), leaks are a) common and b) easily fixable. A few fun factoids from the EPA:
• An average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water annually (comparable to about 270 loads of laundry).
• Common leaks include toilets (the flappers go bad), faucets and other water valves.
• Homeowners can save about 10% on their water bills by correcting leaks.
• Leak repair is inexpensive, especially if you are the slightest bit handy.
• Think Like a Leak and Spot ‘Em!

Water leaks are sneaky. Water is quiet and flows unnoticed until the water bill arrives. Generally speaking, a family of four will use about 12,000 gallons of water during the winter months. If your water bill indicates higher usage, you may have leak. Another approach is to monitory your water meter for a two-hour period when no water is being used in your home. If the meter reading changes, look for a leak. Lastly, leaking/running toilets consume gallons of water. Test your tank by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank water. If the color runs down to the toilet bowl, you have a costly leak. Hint: The flapper is usually the problem; it’s an inexpensive DIY repair.

The bathroom area is a hot spot for leaks. Examine your tub faucet closely – if you have to ‘crank down’ the faucet handles, to stop the flow, you are contributing to the leak problem. Too much cranking compresses the gaskets inside the tub valve, and can worsen a leak. If a leaky showerhead is an issue, snug up the connection by adding new Teflon tape. 10 dpm (drips per minute) adds up to over 500 gallons a year.

Update Your Water Usage Habits
From a practical use perspective, below are a few tips:
· Short showers use less water than a long bath.
· Run only full loads in the dishwasher or clothes washer (bonus: reduces detergent costs, too)
· Avoid overwatering the lawn
· Look for the WaterSense label when replacing toilets, dishwashers, water heaters, or clothes washers. It’s easily identifiable and indicates a water-saving product.

Water You Waiting For? Allied Reddi-Rooter is your partner in leak repair and water retention. If you’ve purchased a replacement toilet, sink, dishwasher, clothes washer or water heater, we’ll happily install it for you. Likewise, we can repair chronic leaks that just won’t go away. Call Ray today for a free quote or more information. (513) 396-5300.