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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: March 14, 2011
CONTACT: Ernst H. Kastning, 603 -271-0659

Fix a Leak Week, March 14-20, 2011

Concord, NH – During the week of March 14-20, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is promoting conservation of household water throughout the state as part of the national Fix a Leak Week campaign.

Did you know that an American home may waste, on the average, more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks? That is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. Statewide, more than 5 billion gallons of water leak from New Hampshire homes each year, enough water to supply the City of Manchester for an entire year. This is why DES is teaming up with the WaterSense program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remind citizens to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems each year during Fix a Leak Week.

One method to check if your home has leaks is to check your water meter. Do not use any water in the home for about two hours. Read your water meter at the beginning and end of this period. If the meter readings are not exactly the same, then you probably have a leak.

The next step is to find any leaks. Walk through your house, listen closely for running toilets and look for drips at shower heads and faucets, including any outside spigots and hoses. Hoses attached to open spigots may have leaks along them or at their ends. Often leaks in toilets may not be audible. A good way to find this type of leak is to put food coloring in the reservoir tank and checking about 15 minutes later to see if any color appears in the bowl.

Most leaks can be fixed easily and inexpensively. Fixing a leaking faucet, spigot, or hose connection is usually just a matter of replacing a washer or gasket. Shower-head leaks can easily be stopped using pipe tape and/or tightening the screw-on connection. Running toilets are usually the result of a worn or poorly fitting flapper valve or a faulty valve assembly. As a do-it-yourself project, most of these leaks can be easily repaired with inexpensive stock replacement parts available at home improvement and hardware stores. Be sure to bring old parts to the dealer so that the replacement parts can be properly matched.

Remember, most leaks are slow, but over time the volume of wasted water can be appreciable. It is estimated that 10 percent of homes have water leaks that waste 90 or more gallons per day.

Finding and repairing leaks will save considerably on water bills. Additionally, if your home is on a municipal sewage line, it is likely that the billing amount for sewage is proportionally tied to water use and thereby your total bill will be even more impacted by any leaks.

Information for homeowners, as well as resource materials for teachers and students are available at

For additional information about household water conservation in New Hampshire, please contact Ernst H. Kastning at (603) 271-0659 or via email at

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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