a  Leak Week   Family Fact  Sheet
Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense®
program, takes place in March. It's a time when families are encouraged to check for water leaks
and drips in bathrooms, kitchens, and yards at home.

What Is WaterSense?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA for short,  is the part of our nation's
government that helps to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land
where we live. EPA's WaterSense program encourages Americans to use only the water
they need and avoid wasting this precious resource. This concept, known as "water
efficiency," is important because the more people there are  on the planet, the more strain it
puts on limited water supplies. In fact, from 1950 to 2000, the number of people living in the
United States doubled, while the demand for water more than tripled. Using only what we
need helps keep this growing thirst for water in check.

The Facts on Leaks:
  •  Did you know that, in a year, water leaks in your home can waste enough water to fill a backyard
    swimming pool? And if we added up all the water leaking in people's homes right now it could fill
    a trillion gallons of milk jugs? That's enough water for all the people living in the cities Los Angeles,
    Chicago, and Miami combined.
  •  Water-wasting leaks include running toilets, dripping faucets, and other leaking pipes around your
    home. Most of these leaks can be fixed easily.
  •  Fixing these leaks can save your family more than 10 percent on water bills. That's
    like saving $1 for every $10 spent on water.

Finding Leaks:
  •  Ask your parents to help you find the water meter on your house. Usually, it's on
    the outside of the house in a box or under a metal cover on the sidewalk that
    says "Water." The numbers in the box represent either gallons or cubic feet
    of water used in your home. Check your meter, then don't flush the toilet,
    run the faucet, or use any water for two hours. At the end of the two
    hours, check the water meter again. If the meter does not read exactly the
    same, you probably have a leak.
  •  Walk through your house listening for running toilets and looking for drips. Drips usually mean leaks.
  •  Find out if your toilet is leaking silently by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank (that's
    the area behind the toilet seat—ask for mom or dad's help to remove the lid). If color shows up in
    the toilet bowl after 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Once you finish the experiment,
    flush a few times so you don't stain the toilet.
                                                                    Fix a Leak Week Family

  •  Take a watch or clock with a second hand and time how often your faucet drips. A leaky faucet that
    drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons in a year!
  •  There are parts that hold your faucet together called washers and gaskets—they can wear down
    and cause drips. If someone in your house is handy, these parts usually can be replaced easily.
  •  There's also a little screen device called an "aerator" that can be screwed onto the
    tip of your faucet—it adds air into the water stream so you can use less water to
    wash your hands or brush your teeth without noticing a difference in water flow.
    Ask your parents to look for the WaterSense label when buying an aerator or
    replacing a faucet—that means the product will work well and save water.

  •  Showerheads—the place where water comes out in streams at the top of your shower—can also
    get old and leak, even when the water is not on. Ashowerhead that drops just  10 drips in a minute
    wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's enough water, if you saved it all up, to wash 60 loads
    of dishes in your dishwasher!
  •  Most leaky showerheads can  be fixed by making sure they're screwed in tight. Having someone
    handy wrap the showerhead  in "pipe tape," a special tape available at hardware stores, and using a
    wrench to tighten it will help.

  •  It's one of the oldest prank phone calls—"Is your toilet running? Then you'd
    better catch it!" But a running toilet is no joke. If you can hear the water in
    your toilet making noise, even when no one flushed recently, you have a
    running toilet that could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day!
    Sometimes you just need to jiggle the handle to fix it, but sometimes a
    part needs to be replaced.
  •  Many toilets leaks are caused because the "flapper" is decayed or broken.
    The flapper is a rubber piece that opens up to let the water flow from the
    tank into the bowl when you  pull down on the toilet handle. If someone in
    your house is handy, they can easily replace this inexpensive part of your toilet.
  •  If the problem is not just an old flapper and your family has to replace a leaky toilet, tell your parents
    to look for one with the WaterSense label to save both water and money on your family's water and
    sewer bill.

  •  Check your garden hose for leaks where it connects to the side of the house. If it leaks when the
    hose is turned on, make sure the hose is screwed in tight. If that doesn't work, someone handy may
    need to replace the nylon or rubber hose washer or wrap the "spigot," which is the metal  faucet
    where the end of the hose attaches to the wall, in pipe tape.
  •  If your family has a sprinkler system that waters your lawn, remind your parents to check the system
    each spring before turning it on to make sure the sprinklers were not broken during the winter or
    have sprung any leaks.

              For more information, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.
                                                                        Fix a Leak Week Family