Fix a Leak Week
Fix a Leak Week
March 14 - 20, 2022
Michigan will recognize Fix a Leak Week from March 14 - 20, 2022 (view the proclamation signed by Governor Whitmer). Fix a Leak Week, created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and supported by WaterSense partners across the U.S. and Canada, aims to raise awareness about water leaks and provide resources to find and address common household leaks.
Learn About Leaks
The average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Leaks may include a leaky toilet, faucet, or appliance. These types of leaks are often easy to fix, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing easily -corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.
In disadvantaged communities with older homes and aging water infrastructure, water loss within the home and in the overall water system supplying water to the home is very common. These water leaks contribute to water and energy waste as well as public health concerns. Water system and in-home plumbing leaks are costly for residents and community water suppliers.
What are the health and economic impacts of water leaks?Water leaks are a financial burden for the resident, can contribute to water quality concerns, and are an energy burden for water suppliers. Water leaks and backflow (the undesired flow of water in the reverse direction) can have serious health risks. They can also be costly: leaks and backflow can cause damage to your home and increase your utility bills.
Disadvantaged communities are often disproportionately impacted by the health risks and economic costs of water leaks.
Repairing water leaks benefits the resident, community, and water supplier. Fixing easily corrected household leaks is relatively inexpensive and can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.
How do I check for leaks in my home?
According to the EPA, the average household loses more than 10,000 gallons of water each year through leaks. Some water leaks are slow and difficult to detect, yet even the smallest leaks can add up quickly. Fixing easily corrected household leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills, and fortunately, most leaks are easy to find if you know where to look! Use EPA's at-home checklist and read some tips below to help you find leaks:
- Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
- Look at your water usage, particularly during colder months. If a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks. Note: if you use a sprinkler system this may not apply.
- Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
- Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.
The EPA hosts a lot of resources on finding and fixing leaks on the EPA Fix a Leak Week page, including video tutorials. Be sure to check it out!
If you've already determined you have leaks and these resources aren't enough to stop them, it might be time to contact a plumbing professional. When replacing fixtures, consider those with a WaterSense label, which could increase your home's water efficiency and lower your bill.
Fix a Leak Week 2022 Events
Monday, March 14: Get the word out
Tuesday, March 15: Why leaks matter
Finding and fixing leaks can save money and energy and reduce potential public health risks for you and your community. It takes a lot of energy to deliver and treat the water you use every day. By repairing leaks, you reduce energy and water waste, which can lower your bills.
If you missed it last year, you can also check out our "Connecting the Dots between Water and Energy Conservation" webinar where panelists discussed their role and lessons learned in repairing water leaks and restoring water access to residents in disadvantaged communities.
Wednesday, March 16: Be a Leak Detective
Use EPA's at-home checklist to track down leaks in your home, and get your kids involved as a junior leak detective! Watch the video below to see our previous Clean Water Public Advocate demonstrate how to use food coloring to check for toilet leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day (that's about 50 flushes)!
Share a photo of your water leak project or a video of yourself checking your home for leaks. Tag your posts with #FixALeakWeek and #IFixLeaks.
Thursday, March 17: Spotlight on energy utility efficiency programs
Many utilities try to encourage and assist residents in making their home more energy efficient. Check with your utility company to find out if they offer any free or low-cost energy efficiency assessments, products, or other resources to their customers (whether you rent or own!).
Some energy utilities offer a free at-home energy consultation to qualifying customers. These can include a basic home walkthrough, personalized home energy profile, and installation of free, energy-efficient products depending on your needs. Products may include faucet aerators, light bulbs, energy-efficient showerheads, or others. Offers depend upon your utility and other qualifying factors. Some of the programs we're aware of are listed below:
- If you are a DTE customer, visit Free Energy-Efficient Products to Help Lower Your Bill | DTE Energy or call 866-796-0512 to learn about their Free Home Energy Consultation and Products program.
- If you are a Consumers Energy customer, visit Energy Assessments For Your Home | Consumers Energy to learn about their comprehensive energy assessments for your home.
- If you are an Efficiency United customer, visit Home Energy Assessment | Efficiency United - Michigan Solutions, Michigan Savings or call 877-367-3191 to learn about their Home Energy Assessment Program.
If you missed it last year, watch a discussion about Michigan's energy and water conservation collaborative opportunities, as well as how to build partnerships and connect resources to have a greater impact in communities.
Friday, March 18: What else can I do?
Are you left feeling a little like Isabela from Encanto - You've just done something unexpected, like learned how to fix a leaky faucet, and are wondering what else you're capable of? Plenty! For starters, be sure to share or use the resources from Fix a Leak Week with your friends, family, or community.
There are also a huge variety of opportunities throughout the state to get involved, from learning more about how to increase water efficiency in your home to getting involved in an advocacy group. The Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate meets with Clean Water Ambassadors every month to discuss topics related to drinking water. For more information on this group, visit the Clean Water Ambassador webpage. Water is one of Michigan's most valuable and enjoyable resources, and we all have a part to play in protecting our state's water resources!