Every Drop Counts: Fix the leaks, save water and money
By Marne Hayes EBS COLUMNIST
As the childhood song goes, “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza”. The response? “Then fix it, dear Henry”. Did you know that easy-to-fix water leaks account for nearly 1 trillion gallons of water wasted each year in U.S. homes? In fact, the average household leaks nearly 10,000 gallons of water per year, or the amount of water it takes to wash 300 loads of laundry, costing you upwards of an additional 10% on your water bills.
Much more than just a hole in the bucket, and deserving of a look into all of the opportunities available to fix and prevent leaks, saving money and water in our homes and through our community.
With the potential for an average family to waste up to 180 gallons a week, or 9,400 gallons of water annually from household leaks, there is good reason to implement all of the ways you can search your home for leaks and crack down on water waste. Many common household leaks are quick to find and easy to fix. Worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking shower heads all are easily correctable and can save on costly utility bills, and protect community water resources.
Leaks in your home could be wasting thousands of gallons of water each year and nearly the equivalent in dollars. Replacing old, inefficient bathroom faucets and plumbing fixtures can reduce the amount of water wasted in an average household by more than 2,700 gallons per year and save the average family $250 in water and electricity costs.
Each year, in partnership with the EPA, the Gallatin River Task Force participates in a week focused on finding and fixing leaks and making your home more water-wise. Known as “Fix-a-Leak Week” (FALW), this annual event is designed to provide resources and tips for saving water and money, increasing your home’s efficiency and promoting future water conservation practices. This national week of recognizing water conservation allows the Task Force to engage community households and businesses and incentivize smart water choices, and better water conservation measures.
You can take advantage of FALW, solidifying your part in saving household money, and community water. First, take time to figure out where potential leaks may live. The EPA promotes its easy-to-follow guide during FALW that helps identify household leaks, and introduce smart practices that address faulty faucets, toilets, showerheads, and even sprinkler systems. Fix-a-Leak Week offers a full suite of ways to proactively engage in awareness, employ better conservation measures, and easily achieve fixes for common leaks in our own homes and businesses that we may be unaware of.
During this year’s FALW—scheduled for March 20-24—the Task Force will be encouraging participation in our free leak-detection and water-saving resources, in addition to promoting our rebate program, which offers savings for improved water use. From now through April 15, homes and businesses can take advantage of a $75 rebate with proof of leak repair, supporting additional ways to move to higher efficiencies, and greater savings. The rebate program provides resources for homeowners, business owners, and renters to save both money and water; a solution that is good for the Gallatin River and good for you.
Checked every toilet, faucet, and pipe and concluded you are leak-free? There are still plenty of ways to implement your own methods of saving water. Consider shortening your shower time, turn off the faucet when brushing teeth, run only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, and be sure to regularly check household fixtures and appliances for leaks.
Saving water around the home is simple and smart, and FALW makes it easy to implement adjustments that conserve water. The average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bill but could save about $170 per year by retrofitting with water-efficient fixtures and incorporating water-saving practices.
This year’s FALW is the perfect opportunity to jump on board, setting your own personal path for more savings, and better water conservation. By making small adjustments, you could save more than 11,000 gallons annually—and that’s no drop in the bucket.
Marne Hayes is the communications manager for the Gallatin River Task Force.