(Kansas City, Mo.) – The shower drips. The sink leaks. These seemingly small amounts of water quickly add up. According to the EPA:
- The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
- Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
- Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
KC Water is here to help. March 14th – 20th is “Fix a Leak Week.” This week we show you how to monitor your water usage, where to look for a leak, how KC Water can help, and smart ways to use water.
You can track your water usage online.Last fall, as part of our ongoing effort to improve the customer experience, we launched an enhanced account access and payment portal that’s available to customers through our website (www. kcwaterservices.org).
Online, you’re now able to more conveniently pay your bill, view your water usage, schedule recurring payments, start or stop service, request a payment arrangement, and go paperless by enrolling in eBill.
We also launched a brand-new mobile app that enables you to perform many of the same self-service account functions (such as paying your bill and viewing your water usage) that are available through our website from the convenience of your smartphone.
Our new mobile app can be downloaded for free in Apple’s iTunes Store and Google’s Play Store by simply searching for “KC Water.”
Now that you’ve started monitoring your usage, watch for sudden spikes. Remember, filling a swimming pool, aggressively watering your yard, and washing your car in the driveway all require a significant amount of water. If you feel your routine is about average and you still see a jump, check for a leak. Here are tips from the EPA:
- Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves.
- A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds roughly 6,000 gallons per month.
- One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring or a toilet tab available from KC Water in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 10 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.
- Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary.
- 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.
- Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
- An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
- An irrigation system 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.
- Disconnect & drain outdoor hoses during the winter.
- 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.
- Locate your home’s main shutoff valve. It’s where the water line enters the house. Should a pipe burst, turning off the shutoff valve can lessen any damage.
KC Water’s Customer Call Center routinely receives calls from customers concerned about their water usage. A representative can walk you through your history of usage and guide you to the most common places where leaks occur. A representative can also send you free toilet tabs. The tabs are non-toxic dye tablets that can help you quickly detect toilet leaks. The number is 816.513.1313 or 311 (Select Option 1). Representatives are available from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday – Friday.
When necessary, KC Water can initiate a leak investigation. An investigator will check the homeowner’s service line from the house to the main water distribution line. However, the investigator cannot identify the exact location of the leak. KC Water personnel will not check for leaks inside of the home and are not responsible for repairing identified leaks. Where a leak occurs between the curb stop valve and the home, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to make any needed repairs.
Investigator David Gilyard demonstrates how personnel check for a leak:
In addition to fixing leaks, there are also smart ways to use water.
This pie chart from the American Water Works Association shows where most water in the home is used:
- Water your lawn slowly, thoroughly, and as infrequently as possible. Watering at night minimizes evaporation.
- Wash your car in sections and rinse with short spurts from the hose. Try to wash your car near hedges and shrubs to give them a “free drink.” If you need to wash often, use a car wash that recycles water or
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of letting water run from the tap to get cold.
- A pre-1954 toilet will use as much as five gallons per flush. After 1954, the standard dropped to 3.5 gallons, and a toilet manufactured after 1994 will use only 1.6 gallons per flush.
- A bathtub usually uses 25-40 gallons of water. A 5-minute shower typically uses 12.5 gallons. A Jacuzzi-type tub may use as much as 45-50 gallons per bath.
- Attach an automatic shutoff nozzle to your garden hose to reduce use while watering flowers or washing your car.
- A pool cover could save 7 ccf (5,236 gallons) or more in evaporation during a typical Missouri August.
For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Media Relations Coordinator, at email@example.com or 816.513.0284.
KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.