How much water does a pesky faucet drip really waste?
Apr 23, 2014
Unless you had really laid-back parents, you probably heard over and over that you should completely turn off your water faucets so you didn’t waste money on drips. As a kid, did you ever wonder whether all those warnings were really true? Most children feel that moms and dads who admonish them about dripping water are overacting… but it turns out that mothers and fathers really DO know best!
Although dripping faucets aren’t going to totally break your budget, they do cost you money. Over time, that money adds up and literally goes down the drain.
Before we talk numbers, let’s look at why faucets drip in the first place.
Typically, faucets leak for one or more of the following reasons:
The inner workings of the faucet have become corroded and need to be replaced.
The faucet was installed improperly and is not tight or “sound”.
Someone in the family is not completely turning the faucet off. (This can be really difficult for young children and those with arthritis conditions, especially if the handle is difficult to manipulate.)
Once you have a dripping faucet (regardless of why it’s dripping), you’re slowly losing dollars and cents. How much depends on how fast the leak is, and how much water is leaking with each “drip”.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Geological Survey, 15,140 drips equals one gallon of water. (For those of you using the metric system, about 4,000 drips equate to a liter.) Let’s say you have one faucet that is dripping three times per minute. In that case, it would take about three-and-a-half days to lose one gallon of water. In a year, that would mean you’d waste more than 100 gallons of water.
While the cost of tap water isn’t too expensive, those 100 gallons going out the door are costing you in other areas.
Dripping water can actually lead to other issues, including:
Other pipe problems that are being regularly ignored and can become bigger concerns.
Sink staining and discoloration (depending upon the mineral make-up of the tap water and the material used to create the sink.)
Sink material “erosion”. (We’ve all seen older sinks that have been “eaten away” by slow drips.)
Wasted energy (if the leaking faucet is the “hot water” faucet.)
Annoyed family members. (Have you ever listened to a faucet “drip, drip, drip” when you’re trying to fall asleep?)
Fortunately, a dripping faucet is a pretty easy fix. You don’t even necessarily need to get a whole new faucet. Sometimes, just replacing a small part will do the trick quite nicely. Yes, you can even do it yourself, although if you don’t want to, just call a plumber to help.
Remember that a leaky faucet is more than an aggravation; it’s a home improvement project that won’t go away until you do something about it. Sure, you can live with it for a while, but it’s going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later. So why not make it sooner?