It's possible that at some point in the life of your home you will experience a water leak. The first thing to do is check your monthly water bill. Is there a steady increase in usage every month? A sudden increase?
Keep these things in mind when looking at your water bill that seems higher than normal:
- Watering lawn, flowers, garden
- Irrigation System
- Filling a pool
- Having guests staying at your home
- Dripping faucet(s)
- Water running in toilets, even if it is just occasionally
- Water heater leaking or dripping
- If you have a humidifier on your furnace, is it working properly?
- Do you have a water softener device?
Toilets account for nearly 30% of indoor water consumption. They are also the main culprits of an increasing water bill. A faulty toilet can waste 30 to 500 gallons of water a day.
- High efficient toilets of today use between 1.28 - 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush). The current federal standard that was passed in 1992 is 1.6 gpf.
- Toilets made in the early 1980's to 1992 typically used about 3.5 gpf or more.
- Prior to 1980, toilets that were made then used roughly 5.0 - 7.0 gpf.
A silent leaking toilet can waste about 30 gallons a day. This could be due to the rubber flapper in the tank being worn out and needs replaced. To figure this out, remove the lid to the tank and flush. Once the tank refills with water, add several drops of dark food coloring to the tank. Do not flush. Check the water in the bowl after at least 15-20 minutes, or as long as possible, to see if it has changed color.
If it has changed color, the flapper may need replaced. On the other hand, if the bowl water has not changed color, it could be the fill valve...
The fill valve's job is to fill the tank with water after a flush. A float is attached to this valve to let it know when to stop filling the tank. Some toilets have a floating cylinder that moves up and down instead of the arm float.
Some problems that may occur with a fill valve:
- Hearing strange noises from the tank after a flush could mean that the components are wearing down, and the fill valve needs to be replaced. If you hear a hissing sound, that could indicate a faulty fill valve.
- The tank's water level should be about 1" below the overflow tube. The sound of running water could be water that is going down this pipe. Adjusting the float lower could fix this problem. It could also be the handle that is worn out and/or out of adjustment. You could tighten the nut that attaches the handle to the side of the tank or replace it altogether.
Other problems with a toilet:
- Dripping or leaking at the shut-off valve could indicate build up of mineral deposit and /or corrosion of parts.
- The supply line that runs from the shut-off valve to the tank could leak because of a loose connection, corrosion, and/or mineral build-up of the bolts/connectors inside the tank.
- The tank-to-bowl gasket (or tank o-ring seal) may need to be replaced if there is leaking underneath.
- The wax seal that is where the toilet meets the floor could harden over time, causing a noticeable leak on the floor after a flush. The flange that is underneath this seal could also need adjustment or replaced.
In conclusion, if you suspect that your toilet my be using more water than usual, and you're unable to solve it, call a plumber to have it fixed. A problem toilet will get worse over time, costing you more money.