The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have again partnered with the local chapter of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association to tackle water waste from household leaks and save people money during national Fix a Leak Week, March 20-26. The partnership provides discounts on leak detection and repair services ordered throughout the week.
Participating contractors from the association will offer customers a 10 percent discount throughout Fix a Leak Week, up to $100, on products and services related to fixing leaks at homes and businesses in the San Diego region. To receive the discount, customers simply need to mention the Water Authority partnership when scheduling an appointment.
“Quickly fixing leaks is an important part of a WaterSmart lifestyle,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “By again partnering with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association during Fix a Leak Week, we’re encouraging action on needed repairs while helping customers save money in the process.”
Common types of leaks found inside homes include dripping faucets and showerheads, and worn toilet flappers. Many are easily detectable and correctable, while others may be more hidden. For problems that can only be addressed with a new appliance or device, property owners should look for low-water-use models with the EPA’s WaterSense label.
Outdoor irrigation systems should be checked for leaks at least every spring when outdoor water use starts to increase. Look for broken sprinkler heads, along with dripping outdoor faucets and hose bibs. Continually damp spots in the yard, or mold or algae near irrigation fixtures, may also point to leaks. 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.Certified irrigation professionals also can help detect and resolve leaks.
“Hiring a certified professional to find and fix hidden leaks can save water and money, and ensure quality work that lasts,” said Bonni Parsons Mitchell, executive director of the association’s local chapter. “The PHCC supports industry standards and state laws designed to protect customers, and recommends hiring certified licensed contractors for all plumbing repairs.” (Note: For more information, or to check a contractor’s license, go to the Contractors State License Board’s website, www.cslb.ca.gov.)
Property owners can identify the existence of less visible leaks by checking water meters before and after a two-hour period of zero water use at the property. If the meter doesn’t read exactly the same, there’s probably a leak. Many meters have a small, red “leak detector” that spins when water is being used, and that may quickly detect small indoor leaks once all water sources are turned off (though it won’t detect some leaks in irrigation systems).
The Water Authority's "Live WaterSmart" mobile app, available at www.sdcwa.org/live-watersmart-mobile-app, offers another way to help reduce outdoor leaks during Fix a Leak Week. Users can report leaks they spot in the community, and upload photo or video documentation. The reports are sent to local water districts so they can alert property owners of potential problems.
Significant rain and snowfall across the state this winter have led to an end of drought conditions in San Diego County and in most of California. But the possibility of future dry spells remains, and the Water Authority is continuing to encourage residents and businesses to use water efficiently no matter the weather through its Live WaterSmart campaign.
To access the Water Authority’s home water-use calculator and digital “eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle,” go to WaterSmartSD.org. The site also offers information about incentives on a range of water-saving measures, as well as the free, no-obligation WaterSmart Checkup program offered by the Water Authority and its member agencies. Checkups 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. To sign up for a WaterSmart Checkup or to learn more about that program, go to www.watersmartcheckup.org.