What to do when your toilet takes a leak

Save water and money by hunting down and plugging those irritating drips during Fix a Leak Week.

March 20, 2017 | By: Jimmy Luthye

It’s the least leakiest time of the year! Well, that’s the hope, anyway. March 20-26 is Fix a Leak Week, an annual hunt for water leaks around the United States.

Household drips waste up to 1 trillion gallons of water every year nationwide. That’s enough to fill Dillon Reservoir — Denver Water’s largest body of water — 12 times.

One of the leakiest culprits?

Toilets, of course.

The good news is, it’s often quick, easy and inexpensive to fix toilet leaks.

Test for toilet leaks by placing food coloring or a dye tablet in the toilet tank. If you see color in the bowl after about 20 minutes, the toilet flapper is leaking and needs replacing.

Flappers are rubber valves that hold and release water from the tank. Over time, mineral buildup and decay can allow water to leak past the flapper.

Another common problem in older toilets is a float arm that needs a simple readjustment. Poorly adjusted float arms allow water to leak down the overfill/refill tube. While they seem small, these leaks can waste 100 to 250 gallons of water every day.

We may give toilets a lot of grief, but they are certainly not the only guilty party when it comes to indoor leaks.

Other places to check for leaks inside your home include:

  • Faucets
  • Showerheads
  • Bathtubs
  • Dishwashers
  • Ice makers
  • Humidifiers
  • Supply lines to washing machines
  • Supply lines to sinks

Take a look at our checklist to help you hunt down leaks in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.

Don’t forget your wrench.

In the video below, Wale Williams, a conservation technician at Denver Water, helps a family check their toilet for leaks.

Contributing: Steve Snyder and Dave Gaylinn

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