March 12-18, 2012 is known as “Fix-A-Leak” Week by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a time used to highlight the effects of leaky fixtures in homes to demonstrate just how much water literally goes down the drain unused. In fact, according to the EPA, a single household with leaky plumbing can waste 10,000 gallons (about 38,000 litres) per year — which is enough to fill a swimming pool. Worse, 10% of homes waste more than 90 gallons of water per day.
Leak culprits: The most common sources of leaks in the home are leaky toilet flappers, leaky faucets, leaky shower heads and other leaky valves. All of these sources are easily fixable and could save 10% on your water bill.
A leaky faucet that drips at a rate of 1 drip/second wastes 3000 gallons (11,000 litres) of water per year.
A leaky showerhead that drips at a rate of 10 drips/minute wastes 500 gallons of water per year.
Detecting leaks: The EPA notes that if your family uses over 12,000 gallons (45,000 litres) of water monthly (check your water bill), you likely have a leak somewhere. You can usually see the leak in your shower or any faucet, you can hear when a toilet has a leaky flapper — it is constantly refilling when the water level dips below a certain point.
Outdoor irrigation: This is perhaps the trickiest part — hoses can be affected by the winter and may crack or get pierced over the winter. It’s best to check them thoroughly before turning them on for the season. A leaky underground sprinkler with a dime-sized hole can waste up to 6300 gallons (about 24,000 litres) of water per month.
Fixing: Indoor leaks from fixtures are usually easy to fix and involve nothing more than replacing a rubber washer, a toilet flapper, or reapplying some plumber’s tape on a shower head. If you’re not sure what to do, take your old valves to your local hardware store and get the plumbing specialists to help you.
If your fixtures are old and beyond repair, consider getting WaterSense labelled fixtures. The amount of water saved will be significant, and many municipalities (Note: Toronto’s program has been discontinued) offer discounts on water-saving fixtures. Below are a few of the many WaterSense approved fixtures available:
Fluid Emperor Series: “The vitality of the ancient Qin dynasty influences the sweeping form of the Emperor faucet line.” WaterSense labelled faucet, Fluid products are made using all brass parts and come with a lifetime warranty. To find a dealer near you, visit the Sustainable Solutions Inc. website.
The Titanium22 Collection from Watermark features “streamlined single-lever monoblock units that make a striking statement. The units feature hydro-progressive valves that control the temperature and volume in a single motion. The valve is available in a smooth or knurled-texture that not only enhances the grip but creates an original contrast to the polished surfaces at the base and spout.” Like the Emperor series faucet, this one is also WaterSense approved and has a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gpm.
For a dealer near you, visit Watermark’s website.
The Chelsea H125 lavatory faucet features an industry-defying tall, slender and curvaceous design. The spout stands at an impressive 7.5″ high and the handles are 4 1/2″. Cast from lead-free brass it was designed with a flush stream shaper aerator that tilts; allowing users to control the direction of the water.” It is also compliant with WaterSense requirements.
To find a dealer near you, visit the Hastings Bath & Tile website.
About WaterSense: WaterSense is a partnership program between the US Environmental Protection Agency and participating companies to produce products that are at least 20% more water efficient than standard models, without sacrificing performance.
From the website: If one in every 10 homes in the United States were to install WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories in their bathrooms, it could save 6 billion gallons of water per year, and more than $50 million in the energy costs to supply, heat, and treat that water! Learn more about how you can save water and help WaterSense make a positive impact.