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(NAPSA) - Drip. Drip. Drip. The average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks, adding up to more than one trillion gallons of water lost annually nationwide. Many of these leaks have do-it-yourself fixes that could cost only a few dollars to address.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program is encouraging homeowners to find and fix leaks to save more than 10 percent on utility bills now and help save water for future generations.

  1. Find Leaks: Winter water use can be an indicator of household leaks. If use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month for a family of four, chances are good that you have a leak. Walk around your home with eyes and ears open to find leaks, and don't forget to check pipes. Reveal a silent toilet leak by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank and wait 15 minutes without flushing. If bowl water changes color, your toilet has a leak. Flush afterwards to avoid staining the bowl or tank.

  2. Fix Leaks: Many times, fixing leaks can be done yourself and doesn't have to cost a thing. Both faucets and showerhead connections can be tightened or sealed. For leaky toilets, the rubber flapper inside the tank is often the culprit. Over time, the flapper decays, but replacing it only costs a few dollars. If you don't feel comfortable with these repairs, a licensed contractor can help. Irrigation systems and outdoor spigots can also have leaks. A WaterSense irrigation partner who is certified in water-efficient irrigation technologies and techniques can ensure your irrigation system works properly.

  3. Save Water: Dripping faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, a showerhead leaking 10 drips per minute about 500 gallons per year, and running toilets 200 gallons or more each day. Fixing household leaks not only saves water, but also energy and money on utility bills.

If you need to replace plumbing fixtures, save even more water by replacing them with WaterSense-labeled models. WaterSense labels toilets, faucets, urinals and (coming soon) showerheads that use at least 20 percent less water and are independently tested and certified to perform as well as or better than standard plumbing fixtures.


For more information and tips about how to save water, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

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