A leaky faucet is often considered to be little more than an annoyance that can be ignored. A kitchen sink with a steady drip could be losing a dozen drops of water each minute, but that’s not a big deal, right? Actually, that’s wrong; over time a leaky faucet or shower head could lose a significant amount of water, and that will add up to a larger than expected bill. Let’s take a closer look at how much water and money a simple water leak could cost you each month.
Simple Math to Determine the Costs of Leaky Faucets
There is no way to scientifically determine the exact volume of an average faucet drip. So, in order to carry out some math of the costs of a leaking faucet, we will use a volume of water suggested by a water drip calculator provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Let’s use a volume of .25 milliliter (ml) and apply that to each leaking faucet or shower head fixture. Using .25 ml all of the following statements are correct.
15,140 drips are equal to 1 gallon of water.
4,000 drips are equal to 1 liter of water.
Now that we know how many drips are in a gallon or liter of water we can make some further calculations. If your home has a single leaking faucet that’s losing 10 drops of water per minute, this will waste 3 liters of water each day. That would be 90 liters of water wasted each month and 347 gallons of water wasted annually. This is bad, but that’s just a single leaking faucet, what happens if you have other leaks?
Let’s say that you have a pair of leaking shower heads to go with your single leaky faucet, how does that change things? Well, using the 10 drips per minute shown above, you would be wasting 10 liters of water each day, and this can be extrapolated to 1,041 gallons of water lost per year. But, what if the drip is faster than the conservative 10 drips per minute estimated average?
Let’s imagine that you have a faster drip of 60 drops per minute, how much water would that waste? A single 60 drip per minute leaking faucet or shower head would waste 21 liters or 5 gallons of water per day, and this adds up to 2,082 gallons wasted each year.
As you can see, a single water leak can waste a considerable volume of water over the course of a year. But, if you have more than one leak or the water leak(s) are faster this situation can be even worse. Fixing a leaky faucet or shower head isn’t too hard, and it can be tackled by most people with basic DIY skills. If you’re not confident, you can always contact your local certified plumber for expert help and advice.
The Hidden Costs of Pipe Leaks
A typical pipe leak will be far less obvious than a leaky faucet or shower head. A plumbing pipe could be located out of the way, and it isn’t likely that you will hear a dripping noise. This is why a pipe leak is far more serious; the water could be leaking for a long time before it’s discovered, this will waste more water and cause more water damage.
A plumbing system with a low water pressure of psi and a single small pipe leak could waste approximately 970 gallons of water per day. This is an extremely conservative estimate, most domestic water supplies have a water pressure higher than 40 psi, and larger water leaks are common. This volume of wasted water will drive up your water bills, but the accompanying water damage may cost far more to fix. For these reasons, it’s important to keep an eye out for the following four warning signs.
- Higher than usual water bills.
- The appearance of water stains on walls or ceilings.
- A musty odor under sink cabinets.
- Water in or running down the street from your yard.
If a water stain has formed on the ceiling, it could be a pipe leak, a leak in the roof or a problem with an AC unit that’s located in your attic space. If you go into the attic to check the area with a flashlight check around the water heater, AC unit and any vents in the roof. If you’ve recently had high winds or some work carried out on the roof, there could be a problem with the flashing around the vents. If you have a water heater located in your attic, this is a risky position that can cause a great deal of water damage. Many people have relocated their water heaters to improve access and to avoid some of these problems.
Running Toilets Waste Water
A single running toilet is annoying, and it can waste a significant amount of water. A running toilet could be wasting as much as 200 gallons of water per day. This water that you’ve paid for is flushed away into the sewer, and it’s literally money going down the drain. This is an astonishing amount of water to waste, but there is no need to put up with it, and it’s a relatively simple fix. The toilet flapper chain may need to be adjusted, or the unit replaced to stop the toilet running. If you’re not sure about fixing this yourself contact your local certified plumber and they will be happy to help.
How Much Could Water Leaks Cost You?
A typical leaking faucet or shower head could cost you approximately $20 per month. This may not seem like a lot, but if you have several leaking plumbing fixtures, you can multiply that cost. A typical pinhole leak or crack in a plumbing pipe could cost an average home somewhere between $100-$600 per month. A leaking or running toilet could cost you between $75-$150 per month. Of course, it’s impossible to calculate any accompanying water damage as every home is different. Suffice to say, water damage is expensive to fix, and it can cause considerable disruption to your home. Getting water leaks fixed quickly is always preferred, water bills are kept under control, minor repairs are less expensive, and less damage is caused to your home.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.