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Checking Outdoors for Leaks

Hoses, Irrigation Systems and Pools Can Be Possible Sources

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Everyone has heard of ways to save water inside the house, but how about outside? Think about it: you have irrigation systems for your landscaping, hoses attached to spigots, swimming pools, spas - all potential sources of leaks. Find out how much water is used by an average U.S. household, along with ways to check for leaks and how to maintain your outdoor water sources to prevent future leaks and loss of energy and money.

Facts About Leaks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed the WaterSense partnership program to help consumers and businesses make informed choices and save water,energy and money. Among the EPA's findings:

  • Leaks can account for an about 10,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, which is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.
  • Approximately 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That's equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.
  • The vast majority of leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.

Check Irrigation System in Spring

Your yard's irrigation system should be checked each spring to make sure it has not been damaged by frost or freezing during the cold winter months.

Contact a WaterSense Irrigation Partner

Add this to your spring "to-do" list: to ensure that your inground irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with a landscaping professional. Better yet, contact a WaterSense irrigation partner who has passed a water efficiency certification program.

Inspect Your Pool or Spa for Leaks

Signs that a swimming pool or spa is leaking may or may not be obvious. If you suspect a leak, there are proven ways to inspect and detect. In the tome, The Ultimate Guide to Pool Maintenance, author Terry Tamminen suggests several methods for detecting leaks in pools and spas. Some he considers easy do-it-yourself methods, others he suggests consulting a professional.

Give your chosen test some time, care and patience. Oh - and prepared to get wet.

Check Your Garden Hoses

A leaky garden hose at its connection to the spigot is a really simple repair, yet so many people ignore it or are unaware of a leak. While testing for leaks in your yard, turn on the spigot and you'll instantly notice a drip or spray. All you have to do is replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and use pipe tape and a wrench to make a tight connection.

Small Leaks Add Up

An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch 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.
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