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March 8, 2011

Plumbers offer free inspection for leaks

MADISON -- March is a good time to check for leaky toilets and faucets, which can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a year. A free inspection by participating plumbers during "Fix a Leak Week" this month, and videos and other information, can help Wisconsin homeowners put an end to the drip and save water and money, state water officials say.

Fix a Leak Week, March 14-21, is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program, and the Department of Natural Resources, the Public Service Commission and the state Division of Safety and Buildings. These agencies are calling on all homeowners, renters and property managers to find and fix leaky toilets, faucets, shower heads and other fixtures.

"Leaks can add up to more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted in a home every year—that's enough to fill a backyard swimming pool," says Jeff Ripp, PSC water conservation coordinator. "We encourage all homeowners, renters and property managers to do some detective work to find and fix leaks."

Shaili Pfeiffer, who coordinates outreach for the DNR's water conservation efforts, says that taking a few simple steps can help protect Wisconsin's drinking water and groundwater now and for future generations. "It all adds up to help assure that future generations of Wisconsinites and our lakes, streams and springs have the water they need."

Plumbers from the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association of Wisconsin are also joining in the effort by offering a free leak detection home inspection during Fix a Leak week. Visit the PHCC website [] (exit DNR) to find a nearby participating plumber.

"Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day," says Safety and Buildings Division plumbing products reviewer Jerry Thompson. "Have your leaks fixed today by a licensed plumbing professional. You will save money in the long run."

March and other wintertime months are a good time to check for leaks because it's easier to detect them at this time of year. Lawn watering is not occurring, so the usage levels reflected on a water meter represent household use, and higher-than-normal readings can signal a problem.

To help save water for future generations consumers can "check, twist, and replace":

In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers, or contact your favorite plumbing professional. WaterSense also has partners with certified landscape professionals who can check irrigation systems for leaks. Visit [] (exit DNR) to find WaterSense labeled products or an irrigation partner in your area.

State agencies are also sponsoring a Fix a Leak Week Challenge and encouraging people to pledge to check their home for leaks and tell us what you found and fixed. To sign up online for the challenge, see our fun Fix a Leak Week video and for more tips to stop your drips, visit Fix a Leak Week on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Shaili Pfeiffer, DNR (608) 267-7630; Jeff Ripp, PSC, (608) 267-9813; Jerry Thompson, Division of Safety and Buildings, (608) 266-6742

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 08, 2011

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