The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association is promoting “Fix a Leak Week,” March 14-20, 2011, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. The program is an annual reminder to Americans to check household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks.

“PHCC member contractors are trained professionals in water conservation,” said PHCC PresidentFrank Maddalon. “We believe in the goals of Fix A Leak Week - to advise homeowners on how to save money and conserve natural resources. Water leaks are not something people usually think about too much, so an annual reminder like this to the general public is important.”

According to the EPA, an American home can waste, on average, more than 10,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks. Nationwide, more than one trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami combined.

Prior to and during the observance, PHCC and WaterSense are promoting ways to identify and repair dripping faucets, running toilets and leaky showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly. Here are a few water-saving tips:

  • Reduce faucet leaks by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and, if replacement is needed, hire a professional to install a WaterSense-labeled model.

  • Leaky toilets are most often the result of a worn toilet flapper. Getting the rubber flapper replaced is a quick fix that could save a home with a constantly running toilet up to 200 gallons of water per day.
  • For a leaky garden hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • Landscape irrigation systems should be checked each spring before use to make sure they are not damaged by frost or freezing.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

If a plumbing fixture needs to be replaced, PHCC reminds homeowners to hire a professional to ensure proper installation, warranty protection and to maximize water efficiency. Also, homeowners should consider installing a WaterSense-labeled toilet, faucet or showerhead that has been independently tested and certified to save water and perform as well as or better than standard models. find a WaterSense-labeled product.

For more information on Fix a Leak Week,