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Checklist for Chasing Down Leaks in the Bathroom (Tuesday Fix a Leak Week)

artwork, water droplet carton holding magnify glass

Toilets: Listen for running water and conduct the dye test. *Dye Test– place a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring into the tank of the toilet and let it sit for 10 minutes. If color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak. Make sure to flush afterward to avoid staining, and consider replacing your old flapper if it is torn or worn. Toilet dye tabs can be found in the NID main lobby.

Faucets: Listen for drips and turn on the tap to check for water going in the wrong direction.

Showerheads: Turn on and look for drips or stray sprays that can be stopped with tape.

In the Tub: Turn on the tub, then divert the water to the shower and see if there is still a lot of water coming from the tub spout; that could mean the tub spout diverter needs replacing.

Under the Sink: Check for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.

Old or worn-out toilet flappers (e.g., valve seal) can cause leaks. This simple rubber device holds water in the tank, then releases water into the bowl when the toilet is flushed. Because the rubber can wear out, the flapper should be checked periodically and replaced at least every five years to ensure  a good seal and avoid leaks. An old or worn flapper can cause your toilet to flush on its own or silently leak thousands of gallons a year. Replacing a flapper is a quick and easy fix that will save water and money. If you need more help, you can also consult your local hardware store, home improvement, retailer, or a licensed plumber.  Here are some online resources from WaterSense partners:

Tip: Bring the old flapper (or a picture of it) to the hardware store to make sure you buy a new flapper that fits your toilet model. Pay attention to the width of the flapper and whether it has a foam float on it that may also need to be replaced. You can also check the owner's manual, if you have it, or the manufacturer's website for information on replacement parts. 

Faucet Leaks

Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That's the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers! Many tutorials are available online for how to fix a wide variety of faucets. Here are a few examples from our partners:

Tip: Don't forget to turn off the water line before you start!

Showerhead Leaks

A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher. Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. Pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, is available at most hardware stores, is easy to apply, and can help control leaks. For more complicated valve leaks in showers that drip when not in use, contact an experienced handyperson or licensed plumber.

Tip: It's also a good idea to check and, if needed, replace the washer or "o" ring inside the showerhead while making this repair.

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