Tips to Help You Identify & Repair Water Leaks

A shocking trillion+ gallons of water are wasted annually nationwide! So, we always like to honor Fix A Leak Week by reminding our customers to take the time to track down and tackle those drips.

Make it a Habit

The EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) annual Fix A Leak Week is filled with information and events to bring awareness to residents and businesses across the country about the importance of identifying and repairing water leaks.  Here on the Outer Banks, we make it our job to help folks find and fix leaks before they cause big headaches. Taking some time each year to pay attention to some of the little annoyances in the house or business means saving energy, money and time in the long run.

The most common water-leak culprits are both inside and outside the home, and are usually related to the age and condition of the appliance or pipe.  Here are a few examples:

  • Leaky Kitchen Faucets
  • Water Dripping from Outdoor showers
  • Hose Bibs (Water Spigot) in Poor Condition
  • Leaking Toilets (Flapper, Fill Valve or Supply Riser)
  • Water main leaks (releasing water into the ground; which often goes unnoticed)

According to the EPA, the average leak can accumulate to more than 10,000 gallons of water over a 12- month period.  More commonly, ten percent of homes can waste more than 90 gallons in one day!  That sounds like quite a bit of water, doesn’t it?  Well you’d be surprised how quickly it adds up.  Some of the most common causes of leaks we see here on the OBX are:

  • Faulty or old toilet flappers
  • Faucets that constantly drip
  • Water shut-off valves that are leaking

The majority of the time these are fairly quick jobs and easy to fix, with savings of about 10 percent on your water bill, to boot.

Vacation Homes and Rental Homes

Spring is here and Fix A Leak Week is timely, because it gives property owners enough time to get into the house and examine any water leaks BEFORE guests arrive.  A common complaint from vacation renters is having to deal with a repair that could have been easily diagnosed before their arrival.

Certainly, a plumber can do a thorough check of your home or business to identify water leaks, but you can also do a quick check of the fixtures yourself to determine whether you’re wasting water.  Here are a few ways to assess:

  • Record the number on your water meter, then check it again after a couple of hours (when no water is being used). If the meter number changes, then you’ve probably got a leak.
  • If your toilet runs excessively, or periodically runs even when the toilet was not recently used, then you probably have a leak. You can also test for leaks by putting a drop of food coloring in the tank.  If you see color in the bowl after about 10 minutes, then you’ve identified a leak (be sure to flush immediately after the test so you don’t stain the bowl).
  • Check underneath faucets for leaks. If the cabinet is wet, or water stained, you have a leak.
  • Examine gaskets and fittings; if you see water on the outside of the pipe you have some surface leaks.

Don’t wait!

The most successful rental homes are the ones that are well-maintained and ready for guests.  Head it off at the pass and get any repairs or updates done early — don’t lose valuable rentals! Preparation also saves you money on weekend calls and additional expenses.  We work with a number of businesses and realty companies in the area that manage rental homes.  If you’d like more information or would like to have your home assessed for water leaks, contact us today to get started before the vacation season hits the beach.

Check out this animated video with Flo and some leaky facts!