By Flush or Leak, Your Toilet Can Cause a High Water Bill

Reader Contribution by Brenna Long
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Looking to your toilet to solve your problems might not sound like the best idea. But if you want to save water and money, toilet-water conservation might be the answer.

The EPA estimates that a leaky toilet sends about 200 gallons of water down the pipes a day. That’s quite a chunk of the water bill considering the average family uses 400 gallons of water a day.  

Those 200 gallons could be sneaking right through your toilet without you noticing. To check to see if your toilet is releasing water when it isn’t in use, just place a few drops of food coloring in the tank and watch for the dye to end up in the toilet bowl. If your toilet bowl water turns a different shade, you have a leaky toilet situation. (Make sure you flush the color before it dyes your bowl.) All that needs to be done now is to replace the flapper, which is the gate between the tank water and the bowl water.  To learn more about replacing or repairing your toilet check out “Fix a Leaky Toilet.”

If you have an older model of toilet, another way to save water is to purchase a low-flow toilet or dual flush toilet approved by WaterSense, an EPA program designed to promote water conservation. Products that have the WaterSense label on them save money and water when compared to conventional products. Replacing your older model with a WaterSense toilet could reduce the flush from 3.5 gallons to 1.3 gallons or less. In addition, the dual flushing feature could continue water conservation. These types of toilets give the user the option of using more or less water per flush depending on what is needed.

I looked to see how many different options of water-efficient toilets were out there, and I was impressed. The WaterSense label graces more than 500 toilets, from A to Z (American Standard to Zurn). American Standard’s website alone offers 34 WaterSense-labeled toilets.

Another water-saving toilet feature is the SinkPositive. We discussed this new toilet innovation back in December in “Toilet-Lid Sink Combo.” The SinkPositive attaches in place of the regular toilet lid. The toilet-lid sink uses the water that runs into the toilet as hand washing water. Besides the touch free faucet and easy installation, the sink encourages water conservation. It can show a leak visually to the owner. When the toilet isn’t refilling and water is dripping from the faucet, the toilet has a leak. It also gives the toilet water a double use, and don’t worry, the sink water is just the regular water that would be used to fill up the toilet. By using this water twice, the daily water savings can be 2 gallons per person. Plus, the running water may wake you up to the amount of water it takes to fill up the toilet.

Plenty of options are available to conserve water via the toilet. And with more than 25 percent of all water usage going to the toilet, it is a good place start.

Photo by ISTOCKPHOTO/James Steidl

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