Inspect & Repair Water-using Fixtures

Leave the leaks to the media, not your plumbing!

You usually know if a faucet’s leaking, but slow leaks in the bathroom or toilet often go unnoticed. Leaks can account for 13% of a home’s water use, which can also leak hundreds of dollars per year from your pocket.

For instance, it’s possible to waste 200 gallons of water a day if your toilet is running constantly. According to the EPA, the average house with leaks can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a year. This is the equivalent of 270 loads of laundry. Talk about flushing money down the toilet!

Inspecting and repairing your fixtures twice a year can pay large dividends all year-round; fixing easily corrected leaks can save more than 10 percent on your water bill.


Image of a man repairing leaks to a bathroom sink

Image credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock


Faucet diagrams and how-to-repair tips: This Old House.

How-to video: faucet repair:

How-to video: fixing a running toilet:

Doing the right thing is a good incentive, as is saving money on water and energy bills.

How can I tell if I have a leak?

A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month. Another method is to check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.


My toilet doesn’t run all the time, but sometimes I hear water running through it randomly. Is it leaking?

One way to find out 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. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.

(5) Comments

  1. Barry Jan 12, 2012

    Keep the kids from running the water while brushing their teeth with an Instant-Off Faucet Aerator

  2. Melisa Feb 29, 2012

    Kudos for an ierstneting and very helpful article! Often, the signs of a leak are all around us and yet we either choose not to see them or we choose to ignore them. To think that leak detection is a simple matter of being aware of the sound of running water when all faucets and appliances are switched off! Sure, you would have to call a qualified and experienced plumber to fix the leak but in being aware of the signs of a leak you will be able to minimize the potential damage and lower the cost of repair too! Another priceless piece of advice is that the lack of visual clues does not mean there is no leak; in fact what it could mean is that there is a hidden leak. The tips on watching out for unusually high water bills as well as the presence of excessive moisture or mildew could mean considerable savings for homeowners every month!

    • Rakelitap Mar 30, 2012

      I have personally used this mehtod on pools before calling American Leak out for detection and repair. It takes longer but you can determine if there is more than just normal evaporation. If you are suspicious of a leak I am betting you will be able to tell. It does not have to be a huge leak.I have also seen the LeakVue in action. Seems to do what the bucket test tells you in minutes instead of hours and hours.Good stuff.

  3. Smith Sep 02, 2016

    It is really difficult to get this kind of with useful information. The way you have share this information is really very appreciative. Thanks a lot for all the info.

  4. Steven L. Martinez Jan 24, 2018

    I really loved the cleanliness of the bathroom. I like how it arrange and how they fixed the holes, it is like brand new. This is so lovely! And if you guys needs a services just visit https://www.ok-handyman.com/tulsa/ and see the nearest in your place. Thank you!

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