Follow The Leak-er
(and how to patch simple ones as demonstrated by the EPA)
Leaky faucets are one of the most common defects in a household, whether in a kitchen, bathroom, or garage sink. Everyone has encountered one at some point and it causes headaches for tenants who are constantly having a steady drip of water hit their drain. It’s also a huge waste of resources; a leaky faucet dripping at 1 drip per second wastes more than 3,000 gallons a year. While that may seem like an extreme example, faucets aren’t the only problem either: toilet leaks and shower head leaks due to worn out valve seals can add to the number of leaks. Research from the EPA details that an average household wastes around 10,000 gallons of water a year through leaks. As a property manager, this can potentially translate to multiples of those 10,000 gallons of water being wasted in your very building!
It’s important to be proactive in dealing with these leaks and alleviate frustrations experienced by both the tenant and property manager. Luckily, many of these leaks have easily solvable problems, and won’t break the bank for you to take care of either. Many of the common sinks found in households utilize compression faucets that seal the valve with rubber washers that become damaged and worn away over time. If a leak is coming more from a pipe under the sink, it could also be a matter of compression nuts being damaged, or an entire replacement of the P-trap (curved section of a pipe) that won’t cost more than $20! While these are more basic examples, the EPA also has a section on fixing leaks that can aid in reducing costs by providing DIY solutions. Keep in mind, however, that it may also be more convenient to your tenant to provide a date when a professional can come in and fix any leaks; while this may be more expensive for the property manager to pay a plumber, it also is a great show of faith to the tenant that as a landlord, you’re able to take care of them in a timely manner. It also prevents them from attempting to solve the problem themselves and potentially causing a dispute regarding “tenant improvement” violations.
Always encourage discussions with your tenants to come to you and disclose problems with leaking. While some are able to live with it and can tolerate it, a leaky faucet or pipe is not benefiting either the property manager or the tenant by wasting such a precious resource. Staying on top of the matter can help save 10% on your water bill! So, water you waiting for?