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How Much Does a Running Toilet REALLY Cost?

People love the sound of running water.

Be it babbling brooks, cascading waterfalls, or ocean waves, most of us feel relaxed in the presence of running water.

With that said, there are a few running water experiences that most of us find anything but relaxing — the sound of a leaky faucet or running toilet water.

Why the running toilet doesn't provide the same soothing effect, one can not be too sure.

Maybe it has something to do with the awareness of our money literally being flushed down the toilet!

Are your water bills going up for no apparent reason? Click here to learn  exactly how much you are losing due to toilet leaks.

Depending on the size of the leak at hand, one running toilet can tack on anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars annually.

The worst part?

Not all toilet leaks provide the previously mentioned sound effects. Silent leaks rack up bills too, you just don’t hear the problem. Obviously, regularly monitoring for both types of leaks is extremely important, especially in a city like NYC, which has many large apartment buildings and many, many toilets! Not only are landlords here legally responsible for paying tenant water bills, but they've also had to deal with a 240 percent increase in the cost of water over the past 15 years.

In this article, we'll break down the real costs of running toilets. We'll also delve into why toilet leaks often go undetected, and what you can do about them.

How Much Does a Running Toilet REALLY Cost?

Wasted Water — By The Numbers

Did you know a running toilet can waste an entire gallon of water in 30 seconds? Running toilet water wastes approximately 25 times more water than shower leaks.

So, how much exactly are these unidentified leaks costing us?

  • The total cost of NYC water (water plus sewer) is $10.33 per one hundred cubic feet.
  • One hundred cubic feet = 748 gallons 
  • The average medium-sized toilet leak wastes 250 gallons of water per day.

That means that the running toilet cost for a medium leak can add an extra $100 a month or $1,200 per year. You can reduce that number by half for minor leaks, and double it for larger ones.

The Real Cost to Landlords

For most people, $1200 is a significant amount of cash to part with.

But if you're a residential landlord, you're looking at an even higher number. According to the American Water Works Association, an estimated 1-in-5 toilet has a leak at any given moment. If you are responsible for 100 toilets, and 20 of them are leaking, that translates to some pretty unsightly numbers:

5,000 gallons of water per day --> 150,000 gallons per month --> 1.8 million gallons per year = $24,858

That's $24,257.00 per year that is literally going down the toilet.

Remember, the above scenario is calculated based on running toilet costs in NYC. The number goes dramatically up or down depending on the extent of the issue at hand. This doesn’t even take into account leaky faucets or other types of leaks.

Toilet leaks can cost you a small fortune. Click here to learn exactly how much  of your money is going down the drain due to toilet leaks.

Why Leaks Go Undetected


Of course, all of this brings us back where we started: Why do running toilet leaks go undetected? As previously mentioned, toilet leaks are often silent. If a tenant can't hear anything, they won't know there is a problem.

Another issue exists—those who aren't footing the bill are less likely to care. Unless a tenant is extremely environmentally conscious (some are), they are unlikely to be bothered by the occasional sound of a toilet tank refilling.

That puts the ball in the landlord's court.

Since 20% of all toilets have a leak at any given time, maintenance teams can check all toilets on a monthly rotation. But in many instances, leaky toilets aren't easy to spot, even for seasoned technicians.

Some technicians recommend putting food coloring or dye into the tank to see if it appears in the toilet bowl. However, we've encountered many situations in which a toilet is running and the water doesn't go through to the toilet bowl. This is a key reason why many of these types of running toilets go undetected.

Landlords are faced with an interesting quandary: How can you effectively check ALL toilets for leaks when toilet malfunctions don't conform to any particular schedule?

The Solution: 24/7 Wireless Toilet Monitoring

Fortunately, there is a way for landlords to become aware of running toilets without tenant or maintenance involvement:

The Toilet Scrooge

Powered by Bluetooth technology, the Toilet Scrooge is an electronic device that alerts you via smartphone when individual toilets are leaking. Once the unobtrusive monitor is installed at the base of the toilets, you don't have to do a thing.

The Toilet Scrooge comes with white-glove installation that takes only minutes, complimentary toilet monitoring, and it typically pays for itself within a year. Want to learn more?


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is the founder and president of The Water Scrooge, which offers maintenance-free, tamper-proof water conservation tools to landlords and homeowners. The Water Scrooge is based in Lynbrook, N.Y.