MADISON – In an effort to ensure Wisconsinites and state utility providers save water and money, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Program are participating in “Fix-a-Leak Week,” March 15-21, 2021. As Wisconsin infrastructure ages, there will be a growing need to replace, refurbish, or repair water mains and service lines outside the house and fixtures within homes. “Leaks in distribution systems lead to higher water bills and are a waste of valuable resources. Every year I am proud the PSC participates in this awareness week that encourages our utility partners to proactively identify and fix leaks found in their systems,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson of the PSC. “Wisconsin has done a great job recognizing these challenges and provide the necessary resources to fix leaks, keeping water bills lower.” The typical household leak can add up to 10,000 gallons of water wasted each year. This amount would supply the average Wisconsin household with 2 ½ months’ worth of water. Wasting water leads to consumers pouring their hard-earned money down the drain. 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more every day:
- In Stevens Point, wasting 90 gallons of water every day would cost $61.48 per year
- In Milwaukee, wasting 90 gallons of water a day would cost $93.98 per year
- In Hayward, wasting 90 gallons of water a day would cost $119.92 per year
To determine if a home has a water leak, customers should check their water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter number has changed after the two-hour period of non-use, a leak may be present. Finding leaks is a simple and smart way to save money for households, and save our water and energy resources. Below are a few examples of how to fix common leaks someone may find in a home or business.
- Leaky toilets are most often the result of a worn toilet flapper. Replacing the rubber flapper is a quick fix that could save a home with a constantly running toilet up to 200 gallons of water per day.
- A leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year, which is the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers. Reduce faucet leaks by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and, if necessary, replace the faucet with a WaterSense labeled model.
- To fix a leaky garden hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
- An in-ground irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Irrigation systems should be checked each spring before use to make sure they have not been damaged by frost or freezing.
Homeowners that need to replace a plumbing fixture should check first for a WaterSense labeled product. WaterSense labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads have been independently tested and certified to save water and perform as well as or better than standard models. WaterSense also partners with certified landscape irrigation auditors, designers, installers, and maintenance professionals. For more information on Fix-a-Leak Week, visit here. For more on Wisconsin’s water conservation efforts, visit the PSC’s website here or the Department of Natural Resources’ website here.