WVPA Sharing

Opinion: Fix a Leak – Save Some Bucks

By Charlotte Lane

West Virginia Public Service Commission Chair

Fix a Leak Week is observed each year to bring attention to the incredible amount of water that is lost through simple household leaks.  When I say “incredible,” I’m not exaggerating.  Nationwide, nearly one trillion gallons of water are wasted every year.  That water is never used, but most of it shows up on someone’s water bill.  That slow drip in your sink costs you money with every drop that goes down the drain.

Charlotte R. Lane

Since 2012, PSC representatives have visited elementary schools to teach students about the importance of saving water.  We start with why conservation is important.  Less than 1% of the water on earth is fresh water that is available for us to use.  The rest is salt water in the oceans or in polar ice.

Next we tell them about how to save water every day in their homes.  Finding and fixing household leaks is one of the most important things they can do.  A leaky toilet flapper can lose up to 200 gallons a day.  That’s the same as flushing 50 times for no reason.  Those little drips and leaks can add up to more than 10,000 gallons in a home over the course of a year.  That’s enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry – more than five loads a week.  The water that goes down the drain runs up your water and sewer bills.  The students quickly figure out why fixing leaks is so important.

We teach students to look for leaks anywhere that water comes into or goes out of the house.  Key places to look are pipes and faucets in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room and around water heaters and outdoor faucets.  We instruct them to tell the adults in the house what they find so they can fix those leaks and start saving money.

Unfortunately, our Fix a Leak Week visits have been on hold for the past two years due to the pandemic.  But as the world gets back to something resembling normal, we hope to be back in schools in September teaching students to be Leak Detectives.  In the meantime, you should look for some leaks on your own.  It will save you money in the long run.

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