Find & Fix Leaks

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Facts About Leaks

  • The average American household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • Most common leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense-labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances. *FREE WaterSense TOILETS – Eligible Santa Rosa Water residential customers can receive FREE high-efficiency toilets installed by a certified plumbing contractor - while supplies last.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That's the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers.
  • A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

Finding and Fixing Leaks at Home is as easy as 1-2-3

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Find

To check for leaks in your home, you first need to determine whether you're wasting water. Then identify the source of the leak.

Water Meter Quick Check. Start with your water meter.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. click here for more information on "how to read your water meter".

Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring or using a dye tab (available free to customers) in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 15 minutes, you have a leak. Pick-up dye tabs at the following locations:

    • City Administration Building - 69 Stony Circle, 95401
    • City Hall Annex- 90 Santa Rosa Ave, 95404 

Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.

Check outdoors by inspecting your irrigation system, hoses, and connections to spigots.

Fix

Being handy around the house doesn't have to be difficult. Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. These types of leaks are often easily correctable, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings.

Toilets - A common reason why toilets will leak is an old or worn–out toilet flapper (e.g., valve seal). Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can build up minerals or decay over time. Replacing them can be a quick and easy fix for your water woes. To fix this leak, consult your local hardware store, home improvement retailer, or licensed plumber. Here are some online resources from WaterSense partners:

  • Spartanburg Water has a useful video tutorial on detecting leaky toilets.
  • The Regional Water Providers Consortium has a step-by-step video on how to fix a leaky toilet
  • Tip: Bring the old flapper to the hardware store for comparison to make sure you buy a new flapper that fits your toilet model. You can also check the owner's manual, if you have it, or the manufacturer's website for the appropriate replacement part number for the flapper.

Faucets - Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets. Many tutorials are available online for how to fix a wide variety of faucets. Here are a couple of examples:

Showerheads - Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem and by using pipe tape to secure it. Pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, is available at most hardware stores, is easy to apply, and can help tame unruly leaks. For more complicated valve leaks in showers that drip when not in use, contact an experienced handyperson or licensed plumber.

  • Tip: It's also a good idea to check and, if needed, replace the washer or "o" ring inside the showerhead while making this repair.
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Replace 


If you've already determined you have leaks and you find these step-by-step solutions aren't enough to stop them, it might be time to replace your leaking fixtures. If you consult with a plumbing professional, and look for the WaterSense label when considering a new toilet, faucet, or showerhead, you could increase your home's water efficiency.

  • Santa Rosa offers free high-efficiency showerheads and aerators at the following locations:
    • City Administration Building - 69 Stony Circle, 95401
    • City Hall Annex- 90 Santa Rosa Ave, 95404 
  • FREE WaterSense TOILETS - Santa Rosa Water residential customers are eligible to receive FREE high-efficiency toilets installed by a certified plumbing contractor - while supplies last.

*Source: U.S. EPA