The average home wastes over 10,000 gallons of water per year - more than enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.
The EPA WaterSense Program’s annual Fix a Leak Week (March 15-21, 2021) is to encourage Americans to use water efficiently by finding and fixing leaks. Repairing minor leaks, such as running toilets, leaky faucets, and dripping shower heads, can save a family as much as 10 percent on their utility bill–that’s like washing 300 loads of laundry!
A lot is happening the whole month for you to take advantage of:
- Free Leak Detection Kits! Request to have a Leak Detection Kit mailed to you for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: Name, email and mailing address.
- Visit information tables at the City’s Utility Billing Office, Library, and Baca Center all month long to pick up free leak fixing information and dye tablets, plumbers tape, WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators, and more information and goodies to check for leaks in your home. (limited supply, so items may vary)
- Virtual workshops presented by Dallas Water, Fort Worth Water, and Houston Water. View Part 1, Indoor Leak Repair or Part 2, Outdoor Leak Repair.
- Flume Water Flow Sensors are offering a special discount this month to Round Rock residents. You can monitor your water use minute by minute with a flow sensor. See rebates for more details.
- DIY Water Saving Kit available for check-out at the library! This tool box contains instructions and tools to help you find and fix leaks around your home.
Take the 10-Minute Challenge this month!
- Check your water bill for January or February. If you are using more than 2,000 gallons per person per month, you may have a leak. (This is assuming your outdoor irrigation turned off.) You can find your gallons used each month on the upper back of the water bill or on the water portal www.RRTXwater.com.
- Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no one is using water. If the meter number changes, you may have a leak. See how to do that in the video below.
- Use plumber’s tape or Teflon tape and a wrench to ensure tight connections where showerheads attach.
- Check faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replace if necessary.
- Place a drop of food coloring, or a dye tablet, in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl, you may need a new flapper.
- Check your daily or hourly water use on the City water portal at www.RRTXwater.com to keep an eye out for unusual use.
Detect a Leak
- Make sure no water is running inside or outside (washers are off, etc.)
- Go outside to your meter box (in the front yard between your house and your neighbor’s in most cases). It typically has a black plastic lid. You should be able to use a screwdriver or your finger to open the lid.
- Watch the face of the meter for five minutes to see if there’s movement.
- The top middle section of the meter will show an arrow to indicate water is flowing through the meter. If no arrow appears, there’s no water moving through the meter, so no leak. Sometimes toilets leak slowly, then fill up suddenly, so make sure to watch the dial for several minutes.
- If the arrow is there, you’ve got a leak.
You can check the meter yourself for any indication of leaks, or call 512-218-5555 to request your meter be checked.
If you know you have a leak, or just need to turn the water off for repairs or when traveling for an extended time, you can shut your water off using the homeowners shut-off (or cut-off). Learn about finding yours in the video below.
If you think you may have a leak in your irrigation system, you can shut the water off to only the irrigation system using your backflow prevent device. Watch us show you how to do that, below!
- Toilets – Drop dye tablets (request free dye tablets) or a little food coloring into the toilet tank, if color appears in the toilet bowl, you likely have a leaking flapper. Flappers are inexpensive and can be purchased at local hardware stores.
- Faucets – Old washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets. YouTube has numerous tutorials on how to fix a dripping faucet.
- Showerheads – Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure they’re screwed in tight and by using pipe tape to secure it. For more complicated valve leaks, contact a licensed plumber.
- Irrigation System – Look for soggy areas or greener areas in the yard. City water customers can schedule a free irrigation system audit by contacting Jessica Woods at 512-671-2872 or via email.
For the Kids
- Be a Star Detective Word Search (online or print version)
- Rock’n Riddles (check answers here)
- Fix a Leak Week Family Fact Sheet
- Fix a Leak Week Activity Sheet