Experts speculate that American homes waste roughly 1 trillion gallons of water annually, enough to supply 11 million homes. From a conservation stance, that’s an enormous amount of waste, but from a financial perspective, that is money individual homeowners are paying that they simply shouldn’t have to. Water leakage is expensive and sometimes invisible, so you have to know how to detect leaks in your home and get them fixed before you end up spending too much money. Here’s three ways to see if your home is suffering from leaks.

Watch Your Meter

The biggest indicator that you have water leak issues is your water bill. Watch your water bills closely every month for increasing costs. While some fluctuation makes sense from month to month, such as watering your garden in the summer or increased laundry from a new baby, gradually increasing costs can be indicators of a leak. On average, a monthly winter use of water for a family of four is around 12,000 gallons per month. Another way to check your water levels is to check your water meter before and after no water has been used for a coupe of hours. If there’s any change, you have a leak.

Listen (that’s right) to your Toilets

Toilets are notorious water wasters because we expect them to drain water. Toilets can continually drain water without us knowing, leaking water that’s hard to track because, well, there isn’t a leak that you can find by accidentally walking into a pool of water in your basement. But there is an easy way to find out if your toilets are leaking: just take a listen. Pop the lid off your toilet and listen closely for a hissing sound. A hissing sound means your toilet is leaking and you’ll need to get a seal replaced. If you can’t hear any hissing but think your toilet is leaking, put some food colouring in the tank. Wait a few minutes and see if the food colouring has made its way into the tank. If it is, your toilet is leaking.

Check the Your Yard

One of the biggest culprits of leaks are sprinkler systems in yards, especially in cold climates. These systems often get damaged with freezing water and end up leaking throughout the year, costing homeowners thousands. Always make sure you properly clear out your sprinkler system before winter to help prevent damages that lead to leaks. But if you suspect there’s a leak, check your yard. If it’s wet around the sprinklers when they haven’t been on, you may have leak issues. Another way to check is to get a qualified inspector to see how efficiently your system is running. They can also recommend what steps you should take if a leak is present.

Water leaks cost homeowners thousands and thousands of dollars each year despite being completely preventable. With these tips, you should be able to detect leaks without hiring an expert. But if you can’t find the leak, call a plumbing professional to figure out the problem.

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