Leaks in the Home

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. They also state that fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.

A common waste of water that occurs in the home is a toilet leak. If a toilet is running constantly, it could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day. The cause of toilet leaks is most often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the entire rubber flapper, a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that will pay for itself in no time. One way to determine if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak.

Other areas of concern are dripping faucets and showerheads. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water in a year. These leaks can be reduced by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. Most showerhead leaks can be repaired by either ensuring a tight connection using pipe thread sealer and a wrench or replacing the entire showerhead. All faucets should have aerators and all showerheads should be low-flow.

Outdoor valves such as irrigation valves and hose bibs should also be checked for leaks. The best indication of a leaking irrigation valve is water continuing to seep out of sprinkler heads long after the irrigation system has shut down. If this seepage is limited only to the lowest head on a zone and stops after a short time, then it is probably just residual water in the pipe. However, if the leak continues you may need to either repair or replace the irrigation valve. Irrigation systems should also be checked to ensure there are no broken sprinkler heads and should be adjusted according to the season. Most leaky hose bibs can be repaired by finding the packing nut under the spigot and tightening it. This is a simple process that requires only a wrench. If this is ineffective, it may be necessary for you to replace the hose bib.

Remember, before replacing some water fixtures and for some repairs you need to first turn off the water supply. If the water supply needs to be turned off at the meter for any reason, please call us. We will be more than happy to come out at any time and at no charge to you. We have personnel available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Incorporated February 21, 1898, Riverside Highland Water Company is proud to be celebrating its 125th year of continuous operation. This achievement could not have been attained without the ongoing support and involvement of our customers/shareholders.