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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 is one running water experience most of us find anything but relaxing— the sound of 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!

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 in a city like NYC. Not only are landlords here legally responsible for paying tenant water bills, they've also had to deal with a 200 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 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 $10.08 per one hundred cubic feet.
  • One hundred cubic feet = 748 gallons (approximately)
  • The average medium-sized leak wastes 250 gallons of water per day.

That means one medium leak can cost you 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 toilets 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 = $24,257

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 dramatically goes up or down, depending on the extent of the issue at hand.

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, 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, running 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 bowl. However, we've encountered many situations where a toilet is running, and the water doesn't go through the 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 units for leaks, when their 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 electronic device alerts you via smartphone when individual toilets are leaking. Once the unobtrusive monitor is installed at the toilet's base, you don't have to do a thing.

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

Download the eBook

david-schwartz

Author

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.