KSL INVESTIGATES

Every Drop Counts: How A Small Faucet Leak Can Lead To A Big Loss In Water

Jul 2, 2021, 7:36 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

SALT LAKE CITY — All week, KSL has been exploring simple ways to save water that go beyond how Utahns water their lawns because when 90% of the state is in extreme drought, every drop counts. If the drips from a leaky faucet keep you awake at night, wait until you see the math on how much water those drops waste.

You are home alone late at night. All you hear is a steady drip, coming ominously from a bathroom sink: Drip drop, drip drop. OK — that is an old horror film trope and a leaky faucet probably will not lead to your untimely demise. But it can lead to significant water loss.

In its drip calculator, the U.S. Geological Survey measures one gallon as 15,140 drips.

So, a small drip of once every 10 seconds will grow to one full gallon of wasted water by the end of the day. A full year of dripping brings the water loss up to 347.2 gallons! But what if your leaky faucet is dripping faster – say, a drop every two seconds? At that rate, 2.9 gallons of water will go wasted by the end of the day. For the year, the total goes up to 1,041.5 gallons. If the drip is humming along at a drip every second, then the water waste climbs to 5.7 gallons a day, or 2,083 by the end of one year of drip-dropping.

If that is not frightening enough, if you have more than one leaky tap in the house: those numbers will be much higher.

In fact, the Environment Protection Agency estimates 10% of homes have leaks wasting 90 gallons or more per day.

The U.S. Census Bureau pegs the number of homes in Utah at 1,133,521. So, if 10% of Utah homes leak more than 90 gallons of water a day, that adds up to over 10.2 million gallons of water lost in Utah, daily.

When it comes to faucets, drips are often caused by an old, worn-out washer or gasket or a corroded valve seat. Hardware stores sell faucet repair kits that include those parts for as little as $15 or $20.

Whether you fix the faucet’s dripping or hire a plumber: Ignoring a small leak can have big consequences for water when every drop counts.

Closely related to the leaky faucet is the always running toilet. It can add up to thousands of lost gallons every month. That typically happens when the flapper gets old and worn out – usually, a relatively quick and easy fix.


If you have a simple idea that can help us save water, let us know. Call 385-707-6153 or email matt@ksl.com.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

A rendering of a cell site simulator. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

Utah placed limits on police use of spy tech; Do they go far enough?  

For months, the KSL Investigators have been asking questions about spy technology law enforcement uses but doesn’t want to talk about. What exactly does the high-tech tool do, and what happens to your information if it gets caught up in a digital dragnet?
4 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Why you should stop using your work computers, phones for personal use

Many Utahns are still working from home, spending a lot of time on their work computers. That can make it easy to forget it's not a personal computer. But KSL's Matt Gephardt has three reasons why you should use your work computers for one thing — work.
4 days ago
fireworks injuries study...
Matt Gephardt

Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may throw a wet blanket on your 4th of July plans – or at least make you think about bringing a wet blanket with you just in case your family’s celebration adds to a troubling trend.
6 days ago
Peter Ingle talking to Matt Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Too risky to insure? Why your homeowner’s insurance could go up in smoke

There are good reasons for an insurance company to drop your homeowner’s coverage. But what happens when you’re dropped for something you have no control over? KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt went out to find: can they do that?
7 days ago
FILE - Thousand gather at the Utah State Capitol to support a woman's right to choose. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

‘It was hastily passed’: Medical, legal experts raise concerns about Utah’s abortion trigger law

Senate Bill 174, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020, was crafted, in part, to send a message. Now, medical and legal experts are sounding alarm bells about how it will work in practice.
10 days ago
FILE - Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shopp...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Americans shy away from using credit cards abroad, missing out on best exchange rates

As COVID-19 wanes, travel agencies are seeing a massive spike in bookings as folks look to spread their wings and travel abroad.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Every Drop Counts: How A Small Faucet Leak Can Lead To A Big Loss In Water