A high usage pattern could be indicative of a leak. Oftentimes, constant water usage can be a minor, easily-corrected issue. Items such as dripping faucets, toilets not sealing fully, or outside irrigation systems that aren’t functioning properly would cause continuous usage.

The increased water consumption can be harmful to both the environment and your home.

We encourage you to look for a potential leak in your home right away. Below in each blue tab are a few areas to check regularly for leaks. Click on each blue tab to expand and collapse for more details.

Toilets
 

Toilets are the most common source of household leaks. In many cases, a toilet leak is silent, making it difficult to spot. These leaks can range in size from less than a gallon per hour to multiple gallons per hour. Often a toilet leak can be repaired with inexpensive parts.

Cause of Toilet Leaks
Over time, the toilet flushing mechanisms can decay and cause leaks. Typically the fill valve and the flapper need to be replaced due to wear and tear. The most common causes of leaking toilets are:

  • Leaking flapper - The flapper is worn or warped, preventing a tight seal. Drop a dye tablet or several drops of food coloring into the tank and wait an hour. If the colored water appears in the bowl before flushing, the toilet flapper is leaking and needs to be replaced. 
    • The fix: Disconnect the old flapper and install a new one. Flappers do not last forever so check on them periodically.
  • Running toilet - Do you jiggle the handle to keep the toilet from running? If yes, the flush lever and chain, or the handle itself may be sticking.
    • The fix: Adjust the nut that secures the flush level inside the toilet tank. If that does not help, you may need to replace the handle.
  • Leaking fill valve - Remove the toilet lid from the tank and mark the water level with a pencil. Flush the toilet. The water level should return to the marked line when the tank refills.
    • The fix: If the tank's water level is above or below the pencil line, adjust the water level in the tank so the water shuts off 1-inch below the overflow tube.
  • Loose handle - If the handle feels loose every time you flush the toilet, the nut inside the tank may be loose, which is easy to fix!
    • The fix: Remove the lid and tighten the nut so that it is tight but still moves freely.

Detect a Toilet Leak

  1. Carefully remove the toilet tank lid
  2. Drop food coloring or dye tablets into the water of your toilet's tank
  3. Wait one (1) hour and do not flush during this time.
  4. If the dye color appears in your toilet bowl, you have a flapper leak and need to fix it.
  5. The dye water in your tank will be removed during your next toilet flush. 

 

Faucets
 

Worn parts or loose water supply connections are common causes for faucet leaks. Leaks may be obvious, such as a persistent drip, or more inconspicuous, such as a leak under the sink. Persistent dripping can be frustrating but hidden leaks can cause significant water damage to walls and ceilings if not identified quickly. Either way, do not ignore the signs of faucet leaks. Often, it's actually easy to repair and can be done by the homeowner. 

The trick to fixing a leaky faucet is to know what kind you have. There are several different types of faucets including a compression faucet, a ceramic disk faucet, a ball-type faucet and a cartridge faucet.

The compression faucets are usually of the two-handled variety.

The ball-type and cartridge faucets are the single lever faucets commonly found in the kitchen.

Faucet leaks are usually caused by worn-out seals. Since each type of faucet requires different materials to fix the leak, it is best to consult your local hardware store for the most accurate information or parts you'll need to fix it.

Regular Maintenance 

  • Periodically replace worn fittings, washers, gaskets and aerators inside the faucet. Some faucets may need new o-rings, cartridges or ceramic discs, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Tighten the water supply tubing at the fittings by checking to see the fittings are secured tightly at the wall and faucet. If those does not prevent more leaking, the water supply tubing may need to be replaced.  

Wise Water Use
An aerator is usually a simple, mesh screen made of metal or plastic that can be attached to the end of a faucet. Water is divided, as it flows through the aerator, into many small streams with air in between. This allows for the feeling of high pressure with less actual water consumption. These devices are typically inexpensive and can be found at most hardware stores. Sometimes these can get clogged over time and also need to be cleaned or replaced. Cleaning is as simple as removing the aerator and rinsing or scrubbing with a small brush.

Shower heads

Showering is one of the leading ways that we use water inside the home. According to the EPA, showering accounts for up to 17 percent of residential indoor water use which for the average family adds up to about 40 gallons of water per day. Most newer homes have water-efficient shower heads installed that will help to conserve water and save on energy. 

Did you know that the average household could save more than 2,900 gallons per year by installing a water-efficient shower head? If you are thinking about replacing your shower head, consider replacing it with one that has the WaterSense label.

Simple Fixes for a Leaky Shower head
Shower leaks commonly occur where the shower head attaches to the shower pipe. This type of leak may cause water to drip or spray from the back of the shower head. Here are some simple ways to keep your shower head from leaking, while delivering maximum performance:

  • Remove the shower head and soak it in vinegar to remove mineral buildup; recommended once a year.
  • Replace the washer or “O” ring inside the shower head to create a tighter connection.
  • Apply Teflon tape or plumbers putty to the thread of the shower pipe stem before reinstalling the shower head to prevent leaks