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How much water does a leaky faucet REALLY waste?

September 24, 2007

Yesterday was one of those fix-up-the-house days in my basement. It started with the kitty litter, and ended up with the hot-water-heater. I live in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, and here we get our water from a well. Well water is very hard (full of sediments, especially iron), so I decided to purge the hot water tank, as recommended annually by the sticker.

I turned off the gas, and opened up the hot water tap in the laundry sink beside, for 15 minutes. WOW! So much sediment. I actually left it running and went to do some other things. When I was done, I also used the built in purge valve at the side of the tank, and got the last remaining “brown-water” out. Finally, done!

I shut off the hot water tap in the laundry sink, and that’s when I noticed it. A drip. A slow, seemingly innocuos drip. This had actually stained my laundry sink. I guess the tap needs fixing. I never noticed it before, probably rationailising it by my use of the sink. I mean, who passes by and notices that kind of a thing in an unfinished basement?


This got me thinking… how many drips? I watched it. I watched it for 1 minute. 50 drips in 1 minute. Ordinarily, not concerned, but because it’s hot water, I’m probably wasting energy to heat it. Obviously, a case for real world numbers.

According to various sites, a leaky faucet can waste anywhere from 38 gallons per year to a volume greater than the Pacific Ocean. Here’s what various sites say about it:

Leaky faucet (fast drip): 20–30 gallons per day
Leaky faucet (slow drip): 5–10 gallons per day

What? 75 – 115 litres per day for a fast drip, and 20 – 40 litres per day for a slow one? This I’ve gotta check out.

The US Government has a website with a built in calculator.

It estimates that 86,400 drops is 28 litres. This means, 1 drop is equal to 0.32407 mL. Problem is, I also found these web sites:

Apparently, one drop of water is called a “minum”. Never mind viscosity, pressure, temperature, it turns out that 20 “minums” equals 1 mL.

So, for my situation we are left with
50 drops/minute
= 72,000 drops/day
= 3600 mL/day
= 3.6L/day
= 108 L / month

My current rate for water at home is $5.027 per 100 cubic feet. In workable terms this is $5 bucks for 2 831 litres. This means that my leak is costing me 19 cents per month.

19 cents per month.
= $2.28 per year.

So, yah! It is totally worth it to fix that tap. I’ll do it in the next few days and feel good. After purchasing a $0.30 cent rubber o-ring, the savings should start rolling in!



7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2007 12:31 am

    This website is gr8

  2. November 12, 2007 12:32 am

    I luv this website.
    It is so cool
    Now i know how much water i waste every day

  3. January 23, 2011 11:28 am

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  4. April 7, 2011 9:00 am

    Thank you for the sagacious voice. Me and my brother were preparing to do some study about that. We got a great book on that matter from our local library and most books are not as cognitive as your blog. I am exited to find such information which I have been searching for a long time. 🙂

  5. Dude permalink
    May 5, 2011 6:09 pm

    hi bye

  6. wes bailey permalink
    May 5, 2011 6:10 pm

    this is awesome

  7. ken permalink
    July 19, 2011 4:18 am


    or just see how much your tub fills up in a day then measure it

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