'Fix a Leak Week' Is a Good Time for Public Outreach About Common Household Leaks

Up to 77% of Americans have reported seeing signs of a water leak, according to a recent American Water survey on household leaks

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More than two in three Americans have experienced a leak at their home, according to a recent survey conducted by global research agency Opinium on behalf of American Water in an effort to better understand Americans’ awareness of household leaks.

The results coincide with the annual recognition of Fix a Leak Week (March 15-21), a national campaign led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency each year that helps raise awareness about leaks and other water issues that contribute to water waste within homes.

This year’s Fix a Leak Week arrives as we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19, when many people began spending more time indoors and water usage increased across the board. In fact, since the start of the public health emergency, about a quarter of Americans say they have been using more water, meaning it’s more important than ever to be aware of common issues and how to spot them.

“By conducting our survey, we were able to take a comprehensive snapshot of where we stand when it comes to water leaks and water conservation during this unprecedented time,” says David Choate, vice president of engineering at American Water. “As part of our mission in helping to better serve customers, we are using this year’s Fix a Leak Week to help people understand where and how to spot common problematic leaks to help improve home safety and support water efficiency and conservation.”

More than half of Americans have experienced leaks in their bathroom (52%) and kitchen (50%). Here are some tips utilities can share with customers to help them keep track of the most common leaks:

• Test your toilet. Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)

• Watch what you put down the drain. There are many things we put down the drain that don’t belong there. Check out American Water's list of what should never go down your drain for items that may be hurting your pipes.

Up to 77% of Americans reported seeing signs of a potential water leak. Checking up on this can be as easy as doing the following:

• Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings. Look for any water on the outside of the pipe to identify any leaks.

• Check outside. Examine the exterior of your home if you think you have a leak. If hoses are left on even a little, they can drip, resulting in wasted water over time. Irrigation systems can leak underground, causing mushy sod and other above-ground indications of issues.

Nearly a quarter of Americans report using more water since the beginning of the pandemic. Water customers who are worried about their water usage can try to keep better track of usage during cold winter months. If, during January or February, a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks.

American Water says it's committed to fixing leaks by replacing or upgrading water infrastructure in order to provide clean, safe, reliable water to customers. Over the next 10 years, American Water will invest $22 to $25 billion in capital investment to replace and upgrade pipes, pumps, treatment and storage, according to the company.

For more information about Fix a Leak Week and more tips you can share with water customers, visit the EPA website.


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