Up to 77 percent of Americans have reported seeing signs of a water leak, according to recent American Water survey on household leaks
More than two in three Americans have experienced a leak at their home, according to a recent survey conducted by global research agency Opinium on behalf of American Water in an effort to better understand Americans’ awareness of household leaks.
The results coincide with the annual recognition of Fix a Leak Week (March 15-21, 2021), a national campaign led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each year that helps raise awareness about leaks and other water issues that contribute to home water waste.
This year’s Fix a Leak Week comes as we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19, when most people began spending more time indoors and water usage increased for many. In fact, since the start of the public health emergency, about a quarter of Americans say they have been using more water, meaning it’s more important than ever to be aware of common issues and know how to spot them.
“By conducting our survey, we were able to take a comprehensive snapshot of where we stand when it comes to water leaks and water conservation during this unprecedented time,” said Matt Prine, president of Indiana American Water. “As part of our mission of helping to better serve our customers, we are using this year’s Fix a Leak Week to help people understand where and how to spot common problematic leaks to help improve home safety and support water efficiency and conservation.”
Some key findings from the survey:
More than half of Americans have experienced leaks in their bathroom (52%) and kitchen (50%). Below are some ways to keep track of some of those common leaks and avoid plumbing system clogs:
- Test your toilet. Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Flush immediately afterwards to avoid staining the tank.)
- Watch what you put down the drain. There are many things we put down the drain that don’t belong there. Check out our list of what should never go down your drain for items that may be hurting your pipes.
- Up to 77% of Americans reported seeing signs of a potential water leak. Checking up on this can be as easy as doing the following:
- Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings. Look for water on the outside of the pipe to identify any leaks.
- Check outside. Examine the exterior of your home if you think you have a leak. If hoses are left on even a little, they can drip, resulting in significant waste over time. Irrigation systems can leak underground, causing mushy sod and other above-ground indications of issues.
Nearly a quarter of Americans report using more water since the beginning of the pandemic. Here’s what you can do if you’re worried about your water usage:
- Keep track of water usage, especially during cold winter months. If, during January or February, a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons per month, there are likely serious leaks in your plumbing system or fixtures
- The most common way Americans waste water is by leaving the faucet on when brushing their teeth, doing so an average of 8 times each month. Although the average water user doesn’t do it as often, the most wasteful activity is using a hose to wash your car, which will use up to 75 gallons of water every five minutes the hose is running
Indiana American Water is committed to fixing leaks by replacing or upgrading water infrastructure in order to provide clean, safe, reliable water to customers. Indiana American Water annually invests, on average, more than $100 million to replace aging infrastructure and upgrade its treatment and distribution system facilities. Over the next 10 years, American Water will be investing $22 to $25 billion in its infrastructure to replace and upgrade pipes, pumps, treatment and storage.