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Water bill sky high? Might be a Leak!

Sarah Guemez, an El Paso Water customer, learned firsthand about the importance of promptly fixing a leak. She also learned about El Paso Water's program to reimburse customers who fix their own leaks
The U.S. wastes one trillion gallons of water each year due to minor leaks around the home, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A leaky shower head losing 10 drops of water per minute can waste 500 gallons per year.

El Paso homeowner Sarah Guemez experienced first-hand how important it can be to identify a leak. Back in 2013, she and her husband were surprised with a $400 water bill nearly four times the usual amount. Initially, they didn't know why their bill was unusually high or how to correct it.

El Paso Water employees helped them identify a steady stream of water spilling off the roof from a difficult to see spot. They checked their evaporative cooler and discovered a faulty part was preventing the machine from shutting off when its water tank was full.

Taking charge of the situation, they learned about EPWater's program for reimbursing customers who fix their own leaks. After a quick trip to the store, they had the problem solved. Additionally, they worked with EPWater and had their bill retroactively reduced to normal levels.

"I've always been vigilant about leaks. But sometimes they can surprise you," Guemez said. "I definitely encourage people to take advantage of (EPWater's) programs."

Fix a Leak Week, an annual event the EPA hosts for its WaterSense program, aims to educate the public about how to identify and fix common leaks. Running from March 19 to March 25, the week aims to help boost water conservation efforts while helping you lower your water bill.

Tips to help you check for leaks

The EPA has some quick tips to identify a leak in your home:

  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. If the meter changes, you probably have a leak.
  • If you suspect your toilet is leaking, add a few drops of food coloring dye to the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you know you have a leak.
  • Additionally, periodically check the toilet's flapper the rubber plug that is pulled up when a toilet is flushed. If the flapper does not securely plug the hole, consider buying a new one.
  • Check your showerhead for leaks and replace it or secure its seam with Teflon tape if you discover dripping.
  • Leaky faucets are often caused by a need to replace the rubber washer on the turn handle.

Nobody likes a leak! So stay vigilant and look for common signs. Not only are you keeping your water bill down but you are also helping important water conservation efforts.

El Paso Water is partnering with Lowe's to promote Fix a Leak Week locally with a free public demonstration at the Lowe's at 11950 Rojas. Mark your calendars for March 19 at 2 p.m. You will receive great tips to identify and fix leaks that could save you water and money. Additionally, the store will host special shelving and displays throughout the week to help you find the best materials to fix leaks.