Tips To Find & Fix Water Leaks, Save Money

Greater Cincinnati Water Works Offers Tips To Find & Fix Water Leaks, Save Money

National Fix A Leak Week Is March 17-23, 2014

Leaks can run, but they can't hide.

Household leaks can waste water and money. Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) is offering tips to help chase down leaks during Fix a Leak Week, which runs March 17-23, 2014.

"Household leaks from plumbing fixtures can waste water and cause high water bills," says GCWW Field Services Manager Dave Bennett. "In fact, a leaky toilet can use up to 12 gallons of water a minute."

To hunt down leaks and drips, first check your water bill to gauge how much water you use.

The average Cincinnati residential household typically uses between 4,000 and 6,000 gallons of water per month.

If you think your water use has dramatically increased, you might have leak. Here are a few tips to help identify the source of a potential leak:

  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Most indoor water meters are located in the basement on the wall that faces the street.
  • Check your toilets. "Toilet leaks are the most common and costly types of leaks, because toilets represent the greatest water use in the home," adds Bennett. Pin-point toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after 15 minutes, you have a leak (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
  • Toilets with continuous flow (run constantly after flushing) also signify a leak. To determine this type of leak, remove the top of the tank and locate the overflow tube in the center of the tank. The water level should be about 1 inch below the top of the overflow. If the water is above the overflow, you probably have a continuous overflow leak. If the water is just at the top of the overflow, sprinkle some powder on the surface of the water near the overflow. If the powder disappears down the overflow, this also indicates a continuous overflow leak.
  • Check all faucets. Replace worn washers or defective fixtures.
  • Check outside water taps to be sure they are turned off at the faucet.
  • Check your showerhead. Leaking showerheads occur much like leaking faucets. They can usually be fixed by tightening the connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. Pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, is available at most hardware stores.

If you've determined you have a leak, and have not been able to find it after following the tips above, contact a professional plumber. For additional information, call 513-591-7700.