Fix a Leak Week Puts Spotlight on Saving Water and On Water Bills, Says Denver Plumber

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A program of the EPA’s WaterSense partnership, Fix a Leak Week is a great time to make sure a home’s plumbing system is operating properly, says owner of Ben Franklin Plumbing. Leaks account for an average of 10,000 gallons of water wasted per year in the home.

Many homeowners can handle simple leaks and repairs with a few dollars worth of washers and gaskets from the hardware store

It’s national Fix a Leak Week March 15-21, 2010, and the master plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver advise that a few simple checks and fixes could save homeowners thousands of gallons of water each year, lower water bills and improve the operation of their home plumbing systems.

“Fix a Leak Week was establish by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its WaterSense partnership, and it’s a great awareness program for people to check around the house to see if their plumbing is operating properly,” says Steve Jusseaume, a master plumber and owner of Ben Franklin Plumbing of Denver. “An enormous amount of water is wasted through leaks in the home that people aren’t aware of, and we hope this program gets people to save water and money.”

According to the EPA’s WaterSense program:

  •     Leaks can account for, on average, 10,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.
  •     The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami – combined.
  •     10% of American homes have leaks in faucets, toilets, showerheads or sprinkler systems that waste over 90 gallons of water a day.
  •     Just one leaky faucet can waste more than 3,100 gallons of water every year.

Taking a cue from WaterSense, Jusseaume notes that checking for leaks around the home is easy. The first step is to listen, as many leaks are audible. Then inspect each and every faucet in the home and outside for signs of dripping – spots of water in the basin or on the splash outside. For toilets, Jusseaume says to put a little food coloring in the tank; if color seeps into the bowl, the toilet is leaking.

Many of these types of leaks can be fixed easily, most by replacing a washer or gasket in the fixture’s spout, says Jusseaume. A faucet leaking at one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year, he adds.

Toilets that run all the time could be wasting as much as 200 gallons of water a day, the Ben Franklin Plumber says. The most common problem is a broken or worn flapper in the tank, and it’s a quick job to replace it.

Of course, Jesseaume notes that sometimes leaks are undetectable by a non-professional. But a homeowner can narrow down a problem by following some simple steps from Denver Water. The water agency says to first locate the water meter for the house, and then the water shut-off valve for your home; it can be inside or out and is commonly located where the main water line enters the foundation. Then turn off all faucets, outlets and water-using appliances in the home. Note the gallon calculating sweep hand on the meter (it looks very much like the second hand on a watch). Wait about 30 minutes, then check the meter again: if it has moved, you have a leak somewhere. Then, close the main shut-off valve; if the indicator on the meter stops, you have a leak inside the home. If the indicator is still moving, the leak is underground between the water meter and the shut-off valve.

“Many homeowners can handle simple leaks and repairs with a few dollars worth of washers and gaskets from the hardware store,” says Jusseaume. “But if the leak is underground or more severe, or if the toilet won’t stop running, it’s time to call in a professional plumber and get the problem solved. It’ll save the homeowner money in the long run, prevent any further water damage, and of course it will help conserve a precious resource, water.”

Jusseaume adds that if it’s time to replace fixtures like faucets and toilets, the WaterSense program and plumbers alike recommend fixtures carrying the WaterSense label as they are approved for today’s water-conscious requirements and will save homeowners money on water bills.

As an extra incentive on new fixtures, Denver Wate r offers many rebates to residential customers who buy and install qualifying high-efficiency toilets, washing machines, rains sensors, water heaters and other water-efficient fixtures. In addition, some of these appliances may qualify for rebates through the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, and for federal tax credits through the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.

WaterSense, launched in 2006, is an EPA-sponsored partnership of local water utilities and governments, product manufacturers, retailers, consumers and other stakeholders dedicated to promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs and practices.

Family owned and operated for over 30 years, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver provides the full array of plumbing services throughout the Metro Denver area. For more information or to schedule a guaranteed appointment, visit http://www.benfranklinplumbingdenver.com or call 303-340-3400.

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