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5 Facts You NEED To Know About Household Water Leaks

Woman frustrated because of her leaky faucet.

Your leaky faucet is wasting you tons of water. No, seriously. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons nationwide. Which amounts to over 3 million tons of water wasted annually. Most of us know what a leaky faucet or pipe looks like. However there is an alarming amount of information that homeowners do not know. 

If you are a homeowner, check out these critical facts below!

Fact #1 Leaks Waste Tons Of Water

Don’t you dare reach for the duct tape! An irrigation system with a leak only 1/32nd of an inch in diameter – the thickness of a dime -- can waste 6,300 gallons of water per month. Imagine how many showers you could’ve taken. The average household accounts for over 10,000 gallons of water wasted due to leaks. Considering how many homes may contribute to the leaky situation, if 10% of homes in the U.S. waste 90 gallons daily, the water wasted could be more than 1 trillion gallons. Duct tape isn’t the solution. Be sure to call a professional so that the leak can be properly fixed.

Fact #2 There Are Leaks You DON’T Know About

It is fairly straightforward to discern a leak in your sink faucet. But what about that leaks you can’t see? The one behind your laundry room wall? Oh, you didn’t know about that one? What about your toilet? Toilets are the number 1 household leak. Leaks can occur above ceilings, under your home, or in the garage, and these are the leaks that cause damage.

There are some common symptoms of hidden leaks. Such as:

  • A musty stench
  • Mold or mildew growing
  • Water bill running higher than usual
  • Walls or floors are becoming stained/damaged

If you notice any of these, do yourself a favor and call a plumber. They can identify the issue and fix it before something like black mold becomes a serious issue.

Fact #3 Water Leaks Can Have Significant Health Impacts

Mildew and mold have different appearances, but both can have significant consequences when provided with suitable environments. Severe and challenging to deal with, mold multiplies when exposed to moisture. Spores contain allergens and irritants, which may cause serious health risks. If decay is left untreated, the mold eats away materials such as the wood or drywall of your home. 

If surfaces are left overly moist such as bathroom walls or the trim around windows, the invisible spores float, stick, and multiply. Keeping your humidity levels low in your home may help, but nothing will stop the mold from growing if there is a leak.

Fact #4 These Leaks Can Destroy The Structure Of Your Home

Do you have a slab leak? Slab leaks are dangerous leaks that damage the foundation of your home. This kind of damage occurs when the pipes underneath the slab foundation of your home have a leak that goes unnoticed for a long time. The dangers of a slab leak may include but are not limited to structural damage, extensive repair and water bill, health issues due to mold, and more. Though there are signs of a slab leak, you need to be well aware, so your home is not further damaged. You don’t want the leak to create cracks in the foundation or have your home shift/move.

Checking your water meter from time to time can help you unearth hidden leaks. To do this:

  • Turn off all of your appliances for 2 hours.
  • Watch the meter numbers. If the meter numbers increase when all appliances and irrigation are off, you may have an issue. 
  • Check for leaks in predictable locations, such as toilet flappers, faucets, showerheads, etc.

If you identify an issue, get it fixed as quickly as possible. Unresolved leaks can become extremely costly!

Fact #5 Most Household Leaks Are Easy To Repair

Your faucet is dripping, your toilet flapper is worn-out, or your valves are leaking. These are just a few typical leaks a household may experience. Plumbers view these leaks as minor problems which they can fix in a jiffy. 

If you locate a leak that you cannot stop at a source, there are a few steps to take:

  1. Track down your water meter. Water meters live near your home’s curb, the kitchen sink, or the garden.
  2. Carefully uncover the water meter cover. You may need to use a screwdriver to open the lid.
  3. Shut off the main water supply in your home to stop all water from leaking. 
  4. Clean up the water in your home so no mold or mildew develops.
  5. Contact a plumber ASAP!

Plan For Water and Prepare For Leaks

The Nevada Irrigation District encourages all customers to check their homes for leaks and to get involved. Learn more tips on water efficiency through our helpful resources. NID’s Plan For Water is essential to water conservation in our District over the next several decades. This collaborative process allows the community to be involved in long-term planning and prioritization for our water resources. Do you want to be a part of the change? We invite you to our workshops, where you can voice your opinions and concerns.


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