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Save Water During Fix a Leak Week

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Drip, drip drip. That constant sound from your kitchen or bathroom faucet may be an annoyance, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water per year - enough to supply the water needs of Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles combined.

Left uncorrected, those little drips can  increase your water bill by 12 percent, the agency says. To help consumers find and repair easy-to-fix leaks, the EPA has designated this week, March 14-20, Fix a Leak Week.

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"When households have a leak, it's not just a waste of water, it's a waste of money," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "But by fixing leaky pipes, buying WaterSense products and taking other simple steps, families can save on their water bills and conserve clean water for future generations to enjoy."

Homeowners' water bills provide an easy and quick leak-checking measure; if wintertime water use for a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, their home may have a leak.

Leak facts:
--A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.
--If your toilet is running constantly, you could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day.
--A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year.

Ways to save:
--Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
--Silent toilet leaks can be found by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank and seeing if color appears in the bowl before you flush. Don't forget to check irrigation systems and spigots, too.
--Twist and tighten pipe connections. To save even more water without a noticeable difference in flow, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator or showerhead.
--Replace the fixture if necessary. Look for the WaterSense label when replacing plumbing fixtures, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.

Learn more at the Fix a Leek Week website.

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