Here’s What You Can Do to Detect Leaks, Save Water, and Save Money

Making sure plumbing fixtures and appliances are being used efficiently has many benefits. Not only because it saves water, but because it also saves money.

Today kicks off national Fix a Leak Week, organized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a reminder that leaky appliances can waste up to 1 trillion gallons of water annually. By highlighting the various water conservation programs and resources available for residents and businesses in San Francisco, the SFPUC sees Fix a Leak Week as an opportunity to educate about ways to save water, lower water bills, and be a better steward of the earth’s valuable resources.

Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills, according to the EPA, which has posted numerous conservation tips on its Fix a Leak Week homepage. The SFPUC supports several programs to help ensure that customers are using water efficiently and sustainably.

The agency offers Water-Wise Evaluations, where experts offer personalized assessments of properties to help customers save the most water they can, including identifying and fixing leaks, and ensuring all appliances are meeting efficiency standards. While indoor, in-person evaluations are paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is still offering phone or video consultations and in-person outdoor evaluations.

Water-Wise Evaluation , Inspector installing showerhead. Photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SFPUC’s Plumbing Fixture Replacement Program replaces old, water-wasting toilets with free water-efficient toilets, including free installation by licensed plumbers for qualifying residential sites.

The SFPUC’s innovative Leak Alert Program sends automated notifications to single-family homes, multi-family properties, commercial and irrigation accounts with nonstop water use for three-plus days, which indicates that there might be a plumbing leak.

On an average weekly basis, the SFPUC notifies about 200 properties with active leaks, which can range from 180 to over 900 gallons a day of wasted water. The Leak Alert program is estimated to save about 47 million gallons every year in San Francisco among single family and small multi-family homes.

San Franciscans home water use averages 42 gallons of water per day. Residential customers can see how efficient their water use is and how much they use on a daily, and even hourly basis, by logging on to the SPFUC’s customer online portal. More information about the SFPUC’s conservation programs can be found on the agency’s new website.

Water-Wise Evaluation, Inspector talking to customer about free toilet repair parts, flapper, fill valve device. Photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.