The Birmingham Water Works encourages home owners to take the opportunity during

Fix a Leak Week  (Mar 18-22) to inspect their homes for leaks and repair them to SAVE



Did you know that 90% of all high water bills are caused by a leak? Repairing simple household leaks could save you hundreds of dollars on your water bill every month. 

  • The average U.S. home can leak enough water in one year to fill a backyard swimming pool.
  • Fixing easy-to-correct leaks can trim as much as 10% off of your water bill.
  • Household leaks are the cause of 90% of high water bills.
  • A toilet leak is the most common household leak; it is usually caused by a worn- out toilet flapper.
  • A constantly running toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day.    

How to Replace a Worn-Out Toilet Flapper : 



Remove the old flapper:
  • Turn off the water supply to your toilet.
  • Flush the toilet; the tank should empty and will not refill.
  • Remove the lid from the tank, and gently place it on a soft towel.
  • Remove the bowl refill tube (a) from the overflow tube.
  • Remove the chain from the flush lever.
  • Slide the old flapper (b) up and off the overflow tube (c). Note the toilet manufacturer and the model number to purchase the correct replacement flapper


Install the new flapper:
  • Slide the new flapper down over the overflow tube until the ring touches the bottom of the tank; adjust the bulb of the flapper so that it is centered on the valve opening.
  • Attach the chain to the flush lever; adjust the length if necessary.
  • Turn on the water supply to your toilet. Once the tank has refilled, flush the toilet to check that the flapper is installed correctly. The water should quickly shut off.

How to Repair Indoor Faucet Leaks:


  • Turn off the water supply at the water shutoff valves located under the sink. 
  • Once the valves have been turned off, turn on the faucet until it is empty.
  • You may want to cover your drain so you don’t lose any parts down the sink. 
  • Next, remove the handle. If your faucet has a decorative cap, you can remove it by unscrewing it or by using a flat-head screwdriver. 
  • Undo the screw with a screwdriver and remove the handle. 
  • Using a wrench, remove the packing nut by turning it counterclockwise. 
  • Next, remove the valve stem and washer assembly. 
  • Once the valve stem is removed, unscrew the brass screw that holds the washer in place. 
  • Remove the old washer and replace it with a new one. Make sure you replace it with the correct washer; otherwise, you may still have a leak. 
  • Now, put the valve stem back into the housing unit, securing it with the packing nut. 
  • Put the handle back on and tighten the screw to hold it in place. 
  • Turn the water supply back on. Then turn the faucet back on and look for leaks. 


How to Repair Outdoor Faucet Leaks: 


  • If you notice a leaking outdoor faucet, try tightening the handle: Tighten the packing nut with a wrench to stop leaks at the handle. 
  • If the leak is coming from the spout, here’s what you do:  
  • Turn off the water supply at the shutoff valve, which is normally located in the crawl space in the basement.
  • Open the faucet handle and drain the water from the faucet. 
  • Remove the handle by removing the screw that holds it in place. 
  • Behind the handle, you will find a packing nut; use a wrench to undo it. 
  • When the packing nut is loose, slide off the valve stem assembly and look for the washer. Note that some older valve stem assemblies have two washers: one behind the packing nut and one at the base of the assembly.”
  • If the washer behind the packing nut is worn, use a wrench to loosen the nut and take out the washer. 
  • It is a good idea to take the washer with you to a local home-improvement or hardware store to ensure that you purchase the correct replacement. 
  • Put the new washer back inside the packing nut. Then, retighten it with a wrench. 
  • The leak also may be caused by a worn-out washer at the base of the valve stem. To replace this washer:
  • Remove the screw that holds the washer in place, and remove the worn washer. 
  • Replace the worn washer with a new matching one; if it does not match, the faucet will still leak.
You’re almost finished! Now:
  • Replace the screw and make sure it is tightened. 
  • Slide the valve stem assembly back into the faucet, and screw it clockwise into place.
  • Hold the faucet with one hand to keep it from turning, and tighten the valve stem assembly with an adjustable wrench; be careful not to overtighten, as this may damage it. 
  • Screw the handle back on. 
  • Turn on the water supply again. Then, turn on the faucet to be sure the leak is fixed. 

Pat yourself on the back — you fixed your faucet!