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The San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies have partnered with the local chapter of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association to help residents and businesses save water and money during national Fix a Leak Week, March 20-26, 2017.
Participating contractors will offer a 10 percent discount up to $100 during Fix a Leak Week on services related to fixing leaks at homes and businesses in the San Diego region. No application is necessary; just mention the Water Authority partnership when scheduling an appointment. The PHCC has a list of participating contractors here.
Regional Fix A Leak Week activities are part of a national campaign to help Americans reduce household leaks that waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sponsors the annual anti-leak campaign. It says leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water in an average home every year, the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry.
Get a Check-Up
People looking to find opportunities to improve their water-use efficiency can also take advantage of the free WaterSmart Checkup program offered by the Water Authority and its member agencies. Check-ups include site-specific indoor and outdoor water-efficiency recommendations by certified irrigation professionals for owners and managers of commercial, multi-family, industrial, public or single-family properties. Homeowners and property managers can use the no-obligation assessment to decide what changes to make.
WaterSmartSD.org is another resource that provides links to water conservation tools, classes and more such as a home water-use calculator, the “eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle,” classes to empower homeowners to be water-efficient by upgrading their landscapes, and incentives on a range of water-saving measures, from rain barrels to low-water-use devices and appliances.
Eliminating water waste – from broken sprinklers to leaky toilets – is an important part of regional water conservation efforts.
One easy way to identify leakage is to check a home’s water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used at the property. If the meter doesn’t read exactly the same, there’s probably a leak. Water meters also typically have a small, red “leak detector” that spins when water is being used. It is especially useful for quickly detecting small indoor leaks once all water sources are turned off, though it won’t detect some leaks in irrigation systems.
Another way to help reduce outdoor leaks during Fix a Leak Week is by reporting water waste using the Water Authority's "Live WaterSmart" mobile app. The app allows you to submit a detailed description of the issue and upload a photo or video. Your report will then be submitted to the water agency that serves the area where the problem is located.
Common types of leaks found inside homes include dripping faucets and showerheads, and worn toilet flappers. Many leaks are easily detectable and correctable. Fixture replacement parts often pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers.
For problems that can only be addressed with a new appliance or device, look for low-water-use models with the EPA’s WaterSense label. They are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models. The EPA also recommends installing WaterSense-labeled faucet aerators to save water without a noticeable difference in flow.
Outdoor leaks usually are associated with irrigation systems, which should be checked at least every spring when outdoor water use starts to increase. The EPA estimates that an irrigation system with a leak 1/32 of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
While outdoor water leaks can be difficult to isolate, there are several clues to problems. Look for broken sprinkler heads, along with dripping outdoor faucets and hose bibs, and the presence of mold or algae near irrigation fixtures. Also look for continually damp spots in the yard, particularly along irrigation lines and near valves; they could signal underground leaks. Certified irrigation professionals also can help detect and resolve leaks. Also, don't forget to take advantage of the Fix a Leak Week discount!
Free Fix a Leak Week Events & Activities
Water Authority member agencies also are participating in related events and promotions.
The Water Authority will celebrate Fix a Leak Week by providing toilet leak detection tablets to its member agency representatives for giveaways at two March 25 San Diego County Garden Friendly Plant Fairs. The plant fairs will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Encinitas and Chula Vista. For plant fair details, go to watersmartsd.org/upcoming-events.
The Sweetwater Authority is offering rebates to its customers of up to $75 for leak repairs made throughout March 2017. For details, go to sweetwater.org/fixaleak.
The City of Oceanside will host a Fix-a-Leak workshop in April during its Earth Month activities. The combination Fix a Leak Week-Earth Day event will be held at the Oceanside Civic Center Community Rooms April 18 from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, go to savewateroceanside.com.
Partial funding for the Fix a Leak Week campaign was provided by a Proposition 50 grant from the California Department of Water Resources.