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It’s Fix a Leak Week: here’s how to find water waste in your home

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s [EPA] Fix a Leak Week, March 18-24, Missouri American Water is drawing attention to small leaks and other water issues that may waste water within homes. “Step one is making them aware that ‘little’ drip in the downstairs utility sink can contribute to thousands of gallons of water lost in a year. Step two is providing the motivation – a small investment of time and a few dollars can end the waste and make a significant impact on your water bill. Step three is the empowerment – teaching people to detect leaks and the best way to repair them without incurring hefty plumber bills,” said Andrew Clarkson, vice president of operations for Missouri American Water. “If each homeowner in the community does their part, we’re not talking just a drop in the bucket.” According to the EPA, the average residence in the U.S. loses 10,000 gallons of water per year thanks to seemingly minor leaks. With more than 110 million households in the U.S., this equates to more than one trillion gallons of water lost every year due to leaks in the home. Moreover, it is estimated that the average homeowner can reduce his or her water bills by 10 percent simply by addressing leaks. “Most people may not realize that even the smallest leaks can waste thousands of gallons per year,” Clarkson said. “A shower head losing 10 drips per minute ends up wasting 500 gallons of water in the course of a year — you could run 60 loads of dishes through the dishwasher with that amount of water.” Missouri American Water also offers these starter tips for detecting leaks: • Assess your water usage during a colder month. If a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons during this month, there is at least one, or more, serious leaks. • Check your water meter at the start and end of a two-hour period during which no water is being used [i.e. when no one is home]. If the meter changes, there most likely is a leak. • Place a drop of food coloring in your toilet tank and see if the water in the bowl changes colors within 10 minutes. If so, you have a leak. • At least once a season – and especially after extreme temperature changes– check faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for surface leaks, indicated by water on the exterior of the pipes. To further assist customers with at-home leak repairs and prevention, a downloadable leak detection kit is also available through American Water’s website, www.amwater.com.
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