The Cost of a Leak
July 09, 2010
The average family of four uses 600 gallons of water a day, 18,000 gallons of water per month, and approximately 216,000 gallons a year. The cost of water varies for U.S. households from state to state and city to city, however, on average Americans spend around $2.00 per 1000 gallons of water, which averages out to around $612 on water and sewage per year, plus there is the cost of heating water, on average, an additional $230 per year.
American homes waste, on average, more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets or other household leaks. Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. Homeowners still have to pay for water that is lost through leaking fixtures or pipes, not to mention the energy dollars lost if it is a hot water leak! Even a small drip can waste up to 50-100 gallons of water a week and this small leak can cost you in higher utility bills. You could literally be throwing money down the drain!
You should be aware of signs that you have a leak including a sudden increase in your water bill or a noticeable dampness on your walls or floor. Sometimes, however, you may have a “silent leak” and may not even be aware. Having a plumber come out to your home to perform an audit can help you locate and fix leaks in your home. If you suspect a leak, call a plumber and get it fixed immediately. Leaks cost you money in wasted water, not to mention the potential damage they could cause to your home.
Below is a list of potential areas to look for leaks:
- A leaky pipe is usually pretty obvious. Visually inspect all pipes in your home and look for telltale watermarks on walls or ceilings. In the yard, the ground above the water line may stay wet continuously or water may actually flow on the surface. If a pipe is leaking, have it repaired or replaced.
- A leaking faucet is easily identified, but do you know how much water can be wasted from what seems like an insignificant drip? Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. What seems like an insignificant, annoying leak that you learn to tune out can add up, wasting a precious natural resource while increasing your water bill.
- Leaking toilets are common and can be large sources of water loss. A leaking toilet can waste anywhere from several gallons to more than 100 gallons per day (that’s over a quarter million gallons per year!). Leaking toilets are not as easily identifiable as leaking faucets. The following are clues that you may have a leak:
- If you have to jiggle the handle to make a toilet stop running;
- If you regularly hear sounds from a toilet that is not being used; or
- If a toilet periodically turns the water on (runs) for 15 seconds or so without anyone touching the handle.
Even if your toilet does not display any of the above symptoms, it could still be leaking. These “silent leaks” can go undetected for long periods of time, potentially wasting thousands of gallons of water.
Last Updated: June 09, 2023