Leaks can occur in your home without you knowing, and causes and repairs of leaks vary. That’s why it’s important to understand what to look for, and how to resolve a leak should it occur. The average household’s water leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.  10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. 

A shower leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year.  A leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year (that’s enough water for more than 180 showers). A continuous running or leaking toilet is a leading cause of indoor residential water waste.  A running toilet can waste up to 26 gallons per day or 9,490 gallons per year if left unfixed. Not only are leaks wasteful of such an important commodity, it can be very costly on your water bill. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks could potentially save money on your water bill.

Typical Leaks


  • To see if your toilet is leaking, place a toilet dye tablet or a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank (not the bowl) of your toilet. Wait 15 minutes and do not use the toilet. Check to see if any color appears in the bowl. If you have color in the bowl, you have a leak. Most often the cause is 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 whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time. If it’s not the flapper it could be the chain between the handle and the flapper is too tight or twisted, not allowing a complete seal of the flapper. Sometimes older models need to be replaced altogether with a new, low flow WaterSense labeled toilet. 

    New toilets shouldn’t leak, but if your brand new toilet is leaking, it is often just due to the float requiring a slight adjustment so that water is one inch below the overflow tube.  A quick adjustment to the float typically fixes the continuous run or leak on a new toilet. 

  • A dripping/leaking faucet or shower head can often be fixed by simply ensuring a tight connection.  If simply tightening the head doesn’t work, using plumbing tape and a wrench to ensure a strong seal might do the trick, while ensuring you are not over tightening.  If that doesn’t work, it may time to replace the aerator on the faucet, the faucet or showerhead with one that has earned the WaterSense label.

  • Irrigation systems should always be inspected each spring and fall for potential damage from the winter and summer seasons. Frost or freeze damage can occur during winter and breaks and leaks in irrigation lines can happen from the heat of summer. If much of the irrigation system is underground, consult with a professional. Check out our conservation programs at the link below to get a free home water survey to learn more about saving water in your landscape.

    Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

    View Conservation Programs

How to Prevent Leaks

Use non-caustic cleaners in your bathroom (harsh chemicals can corrode and further damage your fixtures and plumbing) and perform regular maintenance such as changing or cleaning aerators.