Let's say your kitchen sink has a steady drip going. It's just ten drips per minute, right? How much is that leaky faucet (or leaking shower head) costing you in water bills each month?
Doing the Math of How Much a Dripping Faucet Costs
We could not find a scientific definition regarding the volume of an average faucet drip, but we decided to go with the volume suggested by the USGS water drip calculator: .25 milliliter (ml) for every faucet or shower head. By these measures, the following is true:
One gallon = 15,140 drips makes up 1 gallon of water One liter = 4,000 drips makes up 1 liter of water
If your home has one faucet leaking at a (very typical) rate of ten drips per minute, that one faucet is wasting three liters of water per day. That's 90 liters per month and 347 gallons of water per year.
Let's say you have a leaky faucet and two leaky shower heads. If that's the case, you're wasting (on average) 10 liters of water per day and 1,041 gallons of water per year.
Got a fast drip going? A faucet or shower head that drips 60 drips per minute wastes 21 liters per day, or 5 gallons of water a day. That's 2,082 gallons per year.
Fixing a leaky faucet or shower head is not hard.
What About Pipe Leaks?
Pipe leaks, although less annoying or obvious, are much more serious and expensive than leaking faucets. On average, a pipe leak the size of the tip of a pencil will waste approximately 970 gallons in 24 hours at even low water pressure.
You may not even notice a pipe leak if it's located underground or in a space you can't see. Make sure you keep an eye out for the following:
A musty smell under sinks in cabinets (often an indication of a cracked hose, a small pipe leak, or a leak at the junction of a hose and pipe)Water in your yard or running down the street from near your yardHigh water billsWater stains in walls or ceilings
Water stains in ceilings are sometimes pipe leaks and sometimes problems with either the roof or the AC unit (if it's in your attic). You may need to go up into the attic and use a flashlight to check around your AC unit, around your water heater, and around vents in the roof around fans and vents. If you've recently had your roof replaced or recently experienced high winds that could have affected your roof, it may be a problem with the flashing around vents and not a pipe leak at all.
While up there checking that water heater, consider the risk of having your water heater in your attic. As professionals who have helped folks with many water damage due to a water heater in the attic that started leaking and caused extensive damage.
What About Running Toilets?
While we're talking about leaks, we have to address running toilets. While many jokes have been made about running toilets, the water bill is no joke. The typical running toilet wastes 200 gallons of water a day. That's an incredible amount of water that just gets flushed into your sewer system. It's also usually an easy project to complete, requiring nothing more than a simple replacement of a toilet flapper or adjustment to the chain attached to the toilet flapper.
How Much Does that Translate to in Water Bill Costs?
A leaky shower head or faucet will cost you about $20 a month, which doesn't seem like much (unless you have several leaky faucets or you let it go for a long time). However, cracks in pipes and pinhole-sized holes in pipes typically cost a household between $100-$600 a month and a leaky toilet will cost you between $75-$150 on an average month.