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How Much Water Does a Running Toilet Use?

One in five toilets has a leak.

While that number may surprise you, the fact of the matter is that new leaks are constantly occurring—and your tenants won’t always know that they are.

Couple this with the fact that water costs have increased by 200% over the past 15 years and you have a problem you can’t afford to ignore.

The Profit Thief: Water Leaks

As that water sneaks out, so do your chances of saving money in utilities.

The EPA estimates “a toilet alone can use 27 percent” of your average water consumption per day. And that’s when it’s working correctly.

A leaking toilet can lead to thousand of lost gallons every month, making identification vital.

How Leaks Start

The cause of most leaks lies in the factory parts of the toilet. As a toilet gets older, the cheap rubber parts inside will wear down, limiting their functionality.

The most common problem parts are:

  • Damaged seals,
  • Gaps from the flush valve,
  • Flush valves with small cuts, and
  • Fill valves that remain open.

All of these parts are affordable when replaced on a single toilet and can be done immediately to avoid leaks altogether. This causes two problems for property managers, though.

First, the parts may be working fine at the time, resulting in unnecessary expenses. Second, if you do need to make the purchase, the cost adds up over hundreds of units.

Additionally, a lot of the parts will corrode faster when introduced to different toilet cleaners. Even chlorine can be enough to wear down flappers.

Because pressure builds up in water systems at night when fewer tenants are using water, the floating balls in tanks will position so they’re open. They’ll be constantly trying to relieve pressure in order to close, meaning many gallons wasted every night.

The Unwanted Costs

Running toilets can have different speeds at which they cost you money. A slow leak can waste 30 gallons a day while keeping you oblivious to the problem. A medium leak, on the other hand, is more noticeable and will go through roughly 250 gallons and $3.00 a day.

The worst case is a large leak, where your toilet operates a constant flow of water, spending up to 4,000 gallons and adding a potential $40 to your bill every day.

With the average cost of water in New York City being $3.81 per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons), the importance of identifying leaks climbs with every unit you manage.

Spotting and Fixing Your Leaks

The easiest way to spot leaks is to install the Toilet Scrooge. It’ll give you wireless updates when a toilet leaks, letting you know exactly which unit has an issue.

The Toilet Scrooge is so effective, it helped save the Parkchester Condominiums over $3 million on their annual water bill, lowering each unit’s water expenses by nearly $500 over the year.

A running toilet isn’t something anyone wants to deal with, but when you’re responsible for managing hundreds of potential leaks, knowing what to do can come in handy.

 

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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.