Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Week 22--Fix Any Water Leaks

Today in the mail I received a newsletter from my local water authority, and in it, there was a small article on 10 ways you can save water. Many of these tips I knew about already, such as running the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load, and doing things like taking shorter showers. Two tips caught me by surprise, because they were all about leaks. I had no idea how much leaks could wreak havoc on a water bill.

This week in Green Boot Camp, I want you to check on any leaking faucets or toilets in your house, and get them fixes. You know the ones I'm talking about--the shower head that seems to be constantly dripping or the toilet that never shuts off. Here's why I want you to fix them: a leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day. And that leaky faucet? Over a year you could have just had 2,000 gallons of water go down the drain!

Don't think you have any leaks to worry about? Well, go look at your water meter (assuming you have public water) and, when nothing in the house that uses water is on, see if the meter is still spinning. If so, then you've got a leak because the meter shows you that water is running from a tap or toilet somewhere in the house. You may be able to sleuth out and fix the leak yourself, or it might be time to call in a plumber.

One of the things we've done in our house that helps a little bit with leaks and it helps to reduce our water consumption is this: we've "faked out" our toilet bowl into filling with less water in the tank. That is, we put a couple of big rocks and bricks in the toilet tank so that they take up space and, therefore, it takes less water to fill the tank and trigger the shut-off valve. The toilets still flush fine, and this way if I do have a small leak in the toilet, hopefully less water will be leaking out since there is less water in the tank to begin with.

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