Fix Leaks to Conserve Water

Leaky faucets and toilets waste thousands of gallons of water a year.

Leaking faucets are usually caused by corrosion, mineral deposits or defective parts, and can waste hundreds of gallons of water a month.  Do-it-yourself fixes are not difficult and can save you from paying expensive plumbing fees.  In addition to saving water, you’ll also be saving the energy it takes to heat the water.  If it’s time for a new faucet, be sure to choose a water efficient WaterSense labeled model.

Outdoor faucets leaks often go unnoticed because they aren’t always visible.  Check for outdoor faucet for leaks on a regular basis during the spring and summer.  The smallest leaks add up to hundreds of wasted gallons of water.

Toilets are the most common sources of leaks in the home.  Sometimes a leak is obvious – you can hear the water “running”, but more often than not, leaks are silent.

All toilets should be tested for leaks on a regular basis.  Even toilets that are a few years old.  The reason?  Mineral deposits and worn toilet flappers.  Flappers are an inexpensive, easy-to-replace rubber part that can be found at most hardware stores.

  • To see if your toilet flapper is leaking:
    • Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank
    • Wait about 5 minutes WITHOUT flushing.
    • If any color shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

Leaky shower heads can often be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the shower head and the pipe stem, and by using Teflon pipe tape to secure.

Below are easy-to-follow videos to help you get started on fixing leaks around your home.


Kitchen and bathroom sink faucet repair.

Outdoor faucet repair from the Alliance for Water Efficiency.

Replacing a worn toilet flapper.  Be sure to get a flapper designed for your toilet make and model.


Additional ways to check for leaks:

  • Analyze your water bill.  If a family of four with updated fixtures exceeds 6,000 gallons per month over the winter, there’s a good chance that you have a leak somewhere in your house.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes, you probably have a leak.