5 Tips For Finding Water Leaks in Your Home (Plus FREE Toilet Leak Dye Tabs!)

5 Tips For Finding Water Leaks in Your Home (Plus FREE Toilet Leak Dye Tabs!)

Drip, drip, drip . . . that could be the sound of THOUSANDS of gallons of water being wasted in your home!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that leaking toilets and faucets can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water loss in an average home each year — the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry could be going to waste down your drain annually, without you knowing it.

Easy-to-fix household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water across the country each year, which is why the EPA WaterSense program’s “Fix a Leak Week” (March 20-26) encourages Americans to help put a stop to this unnecessary waste.

“What can I do about it here in Kane County, IL?” We’re glad you asked.

For starters, you can find out if you have a leak. Here are five tips for chasing them down:

  1. Look at your water bill for a colder month, such as January or February. If a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, you likely have some leaks.
  2. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used in your house. If the meter changes at all, you have a leak.
  3. Wait until faucets haven’t been used for a while and then examine the gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the gaskets/pipes.
  4. Watch these videos on detecting household leaks from the Regional Water Providers Consortium.
  5. Identify toilet leaks by placing a dye tab or a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. Without flushing, wait for 10 minutes to see if any color shows up in the bowl. If it does, you have a leak.

As an EPA WaterSense partner, Kane County government is again promoting “Fix a Leak Week” this year.

The Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources will offer FREE toilet leak detection dye tabs to residents March 20-24 during regular office hours, as supplies last. The tablets will be available at the front desks at several county buildings:

  • Kane County Government Center—Building A, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva, Environmental & Water Resources Division, first floor
  • Kane County Government Center—Building A, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva, Development Department, four floor
  • Kane County Health Department, 1240 N. Highland Ave., Aurora
  • Kane County Health Department, 1750 Grandstand Place, Elgin

Don’t let another unnecessary drop go down your drain. Use this checklist to chase down leaks in your home now.

In the Bathroom

  • Toilets: Listen for running water and conduct the food coloring test described on the first page.
  • Faucets: Listen for drips and turn on the tap to check for water going 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’s still a lot of water coming from the tub; that could mean the tub spout diverter needs replacing.
  • Under the sink: Check for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.

In the Kitchen

  • Faucet: Listen for drips and tighten aerators or replace fixtures if necessary.
  • Sprayer: Check to make sure water is spraying smooth- ly and clean openings as needed.
  • Under the sink: Check for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.
  • Appliances: Check for pooling water underneath dishwashers and refrigerators with ice makers, which could indicate a supply line leak.

In the Laundry or Utility Room

  • Under the sink: Check for pooling water under pipe connections.
  • Clothes washer: Check for pooling water, which could indicate a supply line leak.

In the Basement

  • Water heater: Check beneath the tank for pooling water, rust, or other signs of leakage.

Outside the House

  • At the spigot: Ensure tight connections with the hose and see if the hose washer needs replacing.
  • In-ground irrigation system: Check for broken sprinklers or nozzles spraying in the wrong direction. You may want to consult an irrigation auditor certified by a WaterSense labeled program to improve system efficiency: http://1.usa.gov/1YbFMjK.

About WaterSense

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save hundreds of billions of gallons of water and billions in water and energy bills. Learn more at www.epa.gov/watersense.