Tips for Saving Water and Money

By Lindsey Berman

Many of us have ignored the sound of a trickling stream coming from our toilet, or maybe we’ve chosen to overlook those small, slow drips from a bathroom faucet or kitchen sink. After all, how much water do they really waste?

According to the EPA, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak every year in homes across the U.S. That’s enough water to sustain the population of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami combined – each year. It’s also estimated that leaks in almost 10 percent of American homes drip away nearly 90 gallons of water a day. In the greater Portland metro area, that can mean about $100 in water charges literally going down the drain each year.

Many of these leaks occur in old fixtures, such as leaky toilets, faucets and showerheads. Fix these drips and you’ll be amazed at how much water and money you can save.

Plus, in many cases household leaks can be easily fixed by a do-it-yourself plumber and replacement parts don’t require a major investment. For example, faucet leaks are often caused by faulty washers that don’t allow your faucet to shut off properly. Replacing a faulty washer takes less than five minutes, costs less than $1 and is an easy way to recoup water and money savings.

Toilet leaks, on the other hand, are often caused by old, faulty toilet flappers that have decayed or have developed mineral build-up over time. Replacing a toilet flapper is relatively easy and costs less than $5. In either case, just remember to bring your old one with you to the hardware store so that you can get a replacement part with the proper fit.

For more tips to help you discover and repair leaks, visit the Consortium at