It’s that time of year again – Fix A Leak Week!
To be honest, the best time to fix a leak is whenever you find one. Believe it or not, some people have trouble recognizing leaks where and when they happen! Not every leak leaves a nice puddle of water on the floor, but a leak of any kind is a leak worth fixing, since leaks consume more than a trillion gallons of treated water per year in the US alone. By reducing leaks, you can save money, energy and help preserve your local environment. In areas where ample water supply is a problem, simply eliminating leaks can help ensure that water remains readily available.
So, what is a leak?
The easiest leaks to identify are “water fountains” – those that dump water everywhere, like broken pipes or leaking pipe joints. These leaks are the ones that typically get fixed fast because they do obvious damage! Most leaks don’t do any damage at all, but these sneaky leaks make up the majority of the trillion gallons wasted each year.
A dripping faucet is an example of a sneaky leak. Because a dripping faucet usually just sends a trickle of water down the drain, we sometimes overlook it. That’s a mistake. A dripping faucet can leak enough water over the course of a week to fill a bathtub! Fixing this kind of leak may be as simple as tightening a loose connection or replacing a washer. Depending upon the kind of fixture you have, you might need to replace the entire faucet. Regardless of the remedy, saving 50-60 gallons per week is worth it!
A broken shower diverter is another kind of sneaky leak. The diverter closes off the tub faucet and forces water up through the showerhead. When a diverter breaks, it rarely stops functioning altogether. You can usually still get water into the showerhead, but you’re also sending a lot of water straight down the bathtub drain. Besides wasting cold water, this kind of leak can also upset the balance between hot and cold water in the shower, and can cause you to drain your hot water tank faster than normal.
By fixing a broken shower diverter, you can reduce your water usage by hundreds of gallons of water per month, and save a little money in the process. Depending upon the type of shower controls you have, this repair may be as simple as replacing a cartridge, or it might require a new shower/tub faucet. Whatever it takes, this repair will pay for itself in a matter of months.
A running toilet is another kind of sneaky leak. If your toilet runs well after the tank has refilled, or takes forever to shut off after a flush, you have a leak. If your toilet turns on to fill the tank periodically, you may need to replace the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. This valve is a large rubber disc, and it occasionally cracks or wears out. This is not an expensive repair, and your local hardware or home improvement store sells kits to help you replace this valve. If your toilet overfills – that is, it doesn’t shut off when it should – you may be able to simply adjust the float/shut-off mechanism. This zero-dollar fix will pay dividends immediately in the form of lower water bills.
Celebrate Fix-A-Leak Week by spending a few minutes looking for hidden leaks that waste water and drive your water bills up. We can also help you fix more stubborn leaks anytime. Call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.