15 Ways to Fix Minor Leaks Around your Home

Sweet water decor: If you can cut back on the amount of water you use every day, you’ll be doing the planet a big favor. Using water efficiently helps to preserve the environment, minimize the impact of droughts, and take some pressure off of the public water supply. You’re also keeping some money in your pocket by cutting down on your utility costs. Saving water doesn’t require major lifestyle changes either—changing a few small habits can go a long way towards making the world a better place!

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1. Replace damaged pipes and leaky faucets to avoid wasting water. Inspect your water meter and utility bills every month to see how much water you’re using. If you notice a random spike, it may be a sign that you have a leaky pipe somewhere in your home.  A poorly-sealed pipe or leaky toilet can waste up to 90 gallons (340 L) of water a day, so resolving these problems can save a lot of water in the long run.

  • While it varies based on the size of your household and how long you spend in the shower, the average household uses roughly 80–100 gallons (300–380 L) of water a day. This comes out to 2,400–3,000 gallons (9,100–11,400 L) a month. If that seems like a lot of water, it’s because it is! This is one of the main reasons saving water is important.
  • Check your toilet for internal leaks by pouring a drop of food coloring in your toilet’s tank and waiting 10 minutes. If the food coloring shows up in the bowl, you have a leaky toilet to fix or replace.

2. This is one of the easiest ways to cut back on your water usage. There’s no need to keep the water running while you’re in the process of cleaning your teeth or trimming your beard. It may sound hard to believe, but you can save roughly 200 gallons (760 L) of water a month just by shutting the water off once you go about your business!

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3. Get into the habit of taking showers that last 5 minutes or less whenever you can.  Everyone loves a long, hot shower, but your showerhead uses roughly 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water a minute. You’ll save a lot of water over time if you stick with short rinses, and you’ll be just as squeaky clean as you normally would after a long shower.

  • If you’re thinking about switching to baths to conserve water, keep in mind that a bath typically requires 30 gallons (110 L) of water while a short shower will only use 10–25 gallons (38–95 L).

4. The toilet only needs to be flushed when you’ve finished using the bathroom. Don’t dump tissues or cigarette butts in your toilet to use it like a convenient waste basket. Skip that courtesy flush and only flush once when you’re done using the John. If you have one of those dual-flush toilets, be sure to use the smaller button when getting rid of liquid waste to avoid wasting water.

  • Depending on when your toilet was manufactured, a single flush requires 1–8 gallons (3.8–30.3 L) of water. That’s a lot of water over time!

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5. To save the amount of water you use with each flush, fill a disposable water bottle or airtight bag with pebbles and drop it in your toilet’s tank. This will displace some of the water and minimize the amount of H2O needed to fill the tank. It may not seem like a lot, but a pebble-filled 12  fl oz (0.35 L) water bottle will save 12 fluid ounces (0.35 L) with each flush! If you flush four times a day, that’ll save you almost 20 gallons (76 L) of water a year!

  • You may stumble across a website or two that suggests using sand instead of pebbles. But if your bag or bottle isn’t airtight and the sand gets into the water, it may mess with your toilet’s flush valve. Do this at your own discretion.

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6. Swap out your showerhead and faucets for low-flow alternatives. By upgrading your showerhead and sink fixtures, you’ll cut back dramatically on your water usage. This is an easy way to conserve water without even changing the way you wash, flush, or shower!

  • If you don’t have the time or money to upgrade your fixtures, at least install a cheap aerator on each of your faucets to throttle the water flow. The odds are high you won’t even notice it’s there!

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7. Using household appliances more effectively is a great way to save water. There’s nothing wrong with trying to keep your kitchen clean, but you’re going through a lot of water if you’re in the habit of running your dishwasher every day. By waiting until the dishwasher is full, you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to the water you’re using.

  • If you’re thinking about throwing that dishwasher out altogether to conserve water, keep in mind that running your dishwasher will almost always use less water than hand-washing your dishes.

8. If you do have to wash a smaller load of laundry, make sure you adjust the dial that controls the water level to compensate.  Always make sure that you have enough dirty clothing for a full load. Try to stick with cold water washes as well, since the cold water setting on most machines uses less water and energy.

9. When you turn the sink on, you typically have to wait 30 seconds or so for the water to get really cold. Every time you want to drink an ice cold glass of water, you’re pouring a lot of perfectly good water down the drain. By filling up a pitcher and placing it in your fridge, you’ll always have some cold water ready to go without waiting on your tap. This doesn’t seem like a lot now, but over time you’ll save some serious water.

  • You can buy a pitcher with a filter on it if you want to improve the quality and the taste of the water you keep in your fridge!

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10. Defrost your food in the fridge instead of submerging it in cold water. If you hand wash your pots and pans, use a large bowl filled with water instead of letting the faucet run. Whenever you boil something, use just enough water to cover the food instead of filling the pot to the rim.  None of these steps will save a lot of water on their own, but they’ll definitely add up over time!

11. The next time you need to replace a dishwasher, washing machine, or water heater, purchase a water-efficient appliance. Not only will this cut back on your water consumption, but you’ll save money over time when it comes to utility costs.  If you live in the United States or you purchase American appliances, look for the EPA’s WaterSense stamp of approval when you’re shopping for appliances. Any machine with this sticker on it uses at least 20% less water than the average appliance.

12. There are a variety of ways to save water when you’re landscaping or gardening. Stick with native or drought-resistant plants for your garden to avoid the need for frequent watering.  Collect rainwater to water your plants and use a watering can instead of a hose. Weed and prune your garden regularly to keep plants healthy and cut back on the water requirements for your plants.

  • Set your lawnmower blades to be 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) high when mowing, since longer grass helps soil retain moisture, which can help fight droughts.
  • Collecting rainwater is easier than you may think. Just divert your gutters to run off into a large bin.

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13. Create a compost pile or start a compost bin. When you’re cleaning up after eating, toss any food scraps in the compost so you can use it in your garden to fertilize the soil later on. This will cut back on how often you need to water your plants, since compost will help plants retain moisture. It will also keep you from turning that garbage disposal on, which often wastes a lot of water.

  • Feel free to compost any veggies, fruits, bread, or grains. Coffee grounds and eggshells are great for compost as well.
  • Stay away from composting meat or dairy. These items tend to take too long to break down and they’ll attract rats, raccoons, and other pests.

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14. Put the hose down and let the rain clean your car for you. If you do feel the need to wash your vehicle, fill a few buckets instead of using your garden hose to clean your vehicle off and rinse it.  If you use a hose to wash your vehicle, you’ll use roughly 50 gallons (190 L) of water. A few buckets will only require 5–10 gallons (19–38 L), though.

  • There are waterless cleaning products that you can use to clean your vehicle. This will cut out the need for water entirely!

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15. You don’t need a hose or pressure washer to keep your sidewalk, driveway, and porch clean. Instead, pick a broom up and brush any debris aside. If something is especially dirty, grab a damp cloth and clean it by hand instead of leaving the hose running. It may take a few extra minutes, but you’re saving a lot of water by sweeping or hand-wiping instead of washing things outside.

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