JUST HOW MUCH DOES A LEAK COST? COUNTING THE COST OF A DRIPPING FAUCET ON YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR WALLET.
Many people don’t worry too much about a small drip in their faucet. It’s just a drop of water, right? No big deal? WRONG. Those drops of water add up to billions of gallons of wasted water, and that water isn’t free.
A leak that drips only once per minute will waste more than 52 gallons a year (more than a gallon a week). That doesn’t sound like much, but most leaks are much faster, and many leaks deteriorate over time. The EPA estimates that the average home leaks 10,000 gallons of water a year from various faucets and pipes.
Water Waste Scenarios
Faucets are used so often that their leaks are usually caused by wear and tear. Replacement of washers, gaskets, or seals is usually a simple task with minimal investment. A faucet leak isn’t always seen as an immediate concern, but a leak can cause rapid deterioration to the whole faucet, requiring replacement of the expensive fixture, as well as causing damage to the sink or bathtub and maybe even the drain and the pipes below. Fix these as soon as possible to avoid huge water waste and the need to replace expensive fixtures.
We are all familiar with the sound of a running toilet, and that’s an easy fix too. Usually all that’s needed is a quick swap of parts in the tank. Like faucets, this is another repair that should be done as soon as possible to prevent deterioration. However, it’s also possible to have a silent leak! One way to test this is to put a few drops of dye in the tank and see if it starts to appear in the bowl. A leaking toilet can cause problems with the wall or floor, and should be taken care of immediately.
Leaking pipes are a much bigger concern. Pipes do experience gradual wear and tear, and can spring a leak without you being aware of it. A small leak can often be absorbed by surrounding materials in the cabinet or wall, which means you won’t notice until your water bill spikes, or the leak has grown so much that you begin to see water. A small leak in a visible pipe can sometimes be fixed easily with materials from the hardware store, but when it gets big, you’ll want to call a plumber or general contractor, who can fix the problem and assess the damage.
If a leak is left unchecked, the fixtures involved will deteriorate and eventually fail. Obviously, a new faucet is much more expensive than a replacement gasket. Additionally, as mentioned above, the leak can cause damage to the sink or tub, which is also a costly repair.
Walls and cabinets are frequent casualties of a leak. Water will soak into any porous material such as wood or sheetrock and cause damage. Sometimes these materials can be dried, but some cannot and will need to be replaced.
If the dampness is not properly taken care of, mold and mildew can quickly become a problem, causing widespread damage throughout the home as well as causing health problems for family members.
All of this physical damage is accentuated by the wasted water itself. The average homeowner pays only $1.50 for a thousand gallons of water, but all those drips add up quickly, increasing the cost of your water bill each month. Additionally, each wasted drop is an irreplaceable resource for the planet, which is something we should all be concerned about.
It’s clear that a leaking sink is much more than an annoyance. When you start to hear that telltale drip, take the necessary steps to fix it quickly, before it causes even more damage!