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How to detect toilet leaks

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Posted by William Heinselman on Sep 23 2020

How to detect toilet leaks

A leaking toilet – one of the most common plumbing problems to plague homeowners – is known to cause house-wide havoc. Not only is it a nuisance, a leak wastes water, increasing your monthly water bill. But, what if you don’t know that you have a leak? How can you detect a silent leak before it causes widespread damage and expensive toilet repairs?

Luckily, there are many ways a homeowner can check to see if they have a toilet leak! Read on to find out the clues to look for that may mean you have a toilet leak, as well as a few easy tests you can do to detect a silent toilet leak.

Why Silent Toilet Leaks Are So Damaging

A toilet leak is both taxing for your wallet and the environment. In fact, a silent toilet leak can cost you hundreds of dollars for what could be a simple fix. A running toilet or leak wastes about 25 times more water than a shower leak and about 4 times as much water than a faucet leak, which contributes to the nearly one trillion gallons of water wasted annually by household leaks.

If your toilet is severely leaking, it could be wasting an extremely large amount of water and costing you. Typically, a leaking toilet will waste thousands of gallons of water per month. This could translate to approximately $200 unnecessarily tacked onto your monthly water bill– which adds up to almost $2,500 a year wasted on a toilet leak.

Moderate leaks will not put such a dent into your wallet, though they will still be costly; even minor leaks can set you back more than $1,000 in waste a year. So, for a lower water bill and better environment, it’s important to spot a toilet leak early on.

Ways To Detect Silent Toilet Leaks

Not only are there a few ways to determine if a silent leak is present, but you can do it all yourself without the help of a plumber!

Dye Test

Homeowners can perform a simple dye test that can be bought from a water or plumbing supply company. These toilet leak detection tablets are either blue or red and are extremely inexpensive, as one package contains two tablets. The test is simple; all you need to do is place a colored tablet into the toilet tank, wait for a period of 10 minutes, and then check to see if there is any color in the toilet bowl. If color shows up in the bowl, then a leak is present, and you need to contact a plumber.

Pencil Test

You only need a pencil with this other easy test to see if you have a leaking toilet. Take your pencil and draw a line on the back wall of the tank, and on the waterline on the interior of the tank. Shut off the water supply and wait for 30 minutes. The leak is taking place at the refill valve (located on the left side of the tank) if the water is still at the pencil mark. If the water level drops below the pencil mark, then the toilet leak is a result of the flush valve (located at the center of the tank).

Water Leak Sensor

Homeowners can easily detect a leaking toilet by purchasing a water leak sensor. These sensors will inform you as soon as the toilet begins to leak by flashing a red light and making a beeping sound. If the toilet is correctly working, the sensor will flash a green light. These devices are fairly inexpensive, and can be purchased for approximately $20.

How To Determine a Fill Valve Leak

Fill valve leaks are very difficult to detect. To discover these leaks, first begin with a full toilet tank. Then, remove the covering of the tank and determine if water is flowing in the overflow tube. If water is flowing, a leak is present, and you need to contact a professional plumber for toilet leak repair.

When to Call a Sacramento Plumber For Your Toilet Leak

Hopefully, these toilet leak tests will help you catch that annoying leak so you can save water and money! You’ll have to hire a professional plumber to take care of serious leaks, such as a fill valve leak. Or, if these tests don’t work but you still suspect you have a leak, then you’ll need to hire a plumber to come check out your toilet.

Whatever problems you may have with your toilet, call the most cost-effective and affordable plumbers in Sacramento, Express Sewer & Drain! We offer a wide array of services, including leak detection, with flat rate pricing so we’ll never charge by the hour. So, don’t waste any more water! Call Express Sewer & Drain today.

How to detect toilet leaks

We all know how important it is to protect the earth. We recycle, buy energy efficient appliances and try whenever and wherever possible to save water. But, did you know that despite your best efforts, there could be a huge water bandit hiding right in your bathroom?

According to the Watersense, (US EPA) every year over 80 trillion gallons of water is wasted by common, easy to fix bathroom leaks. That isn’t a typo. it really does say trillions of gallons of water is wasted. So, why does this happen? Well, largely because people simply don’t notice the leaks, or fail to understand how important it is to fix them quickly. Because, to be clear, we aren’t talking about gushing, catastrophic floods. We are talking about small leaks, that often happen one drop at a time.

How to detect toilet leaks

If you think that a dripping faucet or toilet isn’t important, consider this:

  • if a faucet or other water fixture drips 60 drips per minute, that adds up to 5 gallons (21 litres) of wasted water per day. If it goes on for a year, that’s over to 2,000 gallons of wasted water.

Now, think about if more than one of your fixtures is leaking, and you are one of dozens with leaks in your neighborhood; and one of thousands in your city. All of a sudden we start to understand how 80 trillion gallons of water is wasted across the US every year. So, let’s look at how to change that.

If your faucet is dripping, you should already know. You can see and hear the leak, and likely be annoyed by it. But, if your toilet is leaking, you might have to do a little more detective work. A great tool to help you is the Watersense leak detection check list , Click on that link for lots of helpful hints on detecting links, like dropping food coloring into your toilet tank and waiting 10 minutes.

How to detect toilet leaks

If any of the color winds up in the water in the bowl, (without anyone having flushed) , you know there is a leak!

How to detect toilet leaksThere are lots of other helpful tips and tricks offered by Watersense; make sure to check out both this brochure and the rest of their website!So, the important thing is to understand how important it is to maintain your fixtures People tell us all the time that they have had their toilet in for years and it’s never caused them any troubles; works fine. But, all toilets need occasional maintenance to ensure not only that they are running at peak efficiency, but also that they remain as water efficient as the day you installed them. (And if saving the planet isn’t enough of an argument, just think of what all of those drips are costing you on your water bill!)

Think about everything else you use regularly: you car needs you to occasionally replace the oil and the brake pads; lamps need new light bulbs and tv remotes need new batteries. Well, in the same way, your toilet should occasionally get new seals. You see, if you look inside your toilet tank, you will see a flush valve and a fill valve. They are made to last, but the little rubber washers and gaskets can wear over time, especially if you live in an area with hard water, or worse, if you use in-tank cleaning products; (aside – don’t do that! It not only can ruin the internals of your toilet but also can cancel your warranty).

For more information on how to diagnose these kinds of issues, have a look at the resources listed here. But for now, we just want you to understand that your water fixtures add a lot to your life. Whether talking about toilets, showers or faucets it is important to spend a little bit of time maintaining them, so that you can save a lot of money on new fixtures and wasted water.