There is evidence that indoor plumbing has been in use since 2500 B.C., and there are indications that it may have been invented even earlier. Yet people still struggle with plumbing issues in their homes. Over 300 gallons of water are used daily in the typical U.S. home, and some of that usage is actually waste. Every year, running toilets and other leaks wastes $6 billion in water, or a trillion gallons.

The High Cost of Leaks

Plumbers Manufacturers International reports that of all water use, 13.7% can be attributed to leaky pipes and fixtures. Approximately 10% of American homes have plumbing fixtures that leak as much as 90 gallons of water every day, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the typical home loses as much as 180 gallons every week through leaks. Over 500 gallons a year, or the water needed to run your dishwasher 60 times, can be lost from a leaky showerhead at a rate of 10 drips every 60 seconds. Similarly, 3,000 gallons, or the water needed for 180 showers, can be lost annually by a faucet leaking one drip every second. If a leak goes unfixed for 12 months, it could add about $164 to your water bill.

Other Plumbing Problems Every Homeowner Should Be Aware Of

Leaky pipes and fixtures are only part of the problems that come with plumbing. In this country, sewer systems that are too old to operate efficiently emit about 1.26 trillion gallons of raw sewage annually. Water heater maintenance is another issue to consider. According to experts, your water heater should be maintained by having the sediment taken out annually or semiannually, which many homeowners neglect to do.

When You Should Call a Professional Plumber

If you see evidence of leaks, such as water stains or a higher-than-normal water bill, don’t try to find and fix leaks yourself. Call a plumbing service. If you experience sewer system problems, or if your water heater sediment hasn’t been removed in a year or more, call a company that provides sewer and drain cleaning and water heater maintenance.

Your home’s plumbing system is complicated, and problems such as leaks can cost you money. Engaging the services of a professional plumber is an investment in the efficient functioning of your home.