How to Save Water by Fixing a Leak

We all know how important it is to conserve limited resources like water. You don’t have to sacrifice in order to save water, though. One major source of wasted water is leaks. When you have a leak, you are paying for water that you aren’t even using. In fact, more than a trillion gallons of water are wasted on leaks in American homes every year. On average, just one home can save 10,000 gallons of water a year by fixing leaks. That’s a lot of water, and a lot of money. You can help the environment and your wallet by taking some simple steps to detect and repair leaks in your home.

How to Find a Toilet Leak

Oftentimes, you have a plumbing leak that you can’t see or hear, which allows it to go unnoticed. A toilet can leak 200 gallons of water every day. You can discover toilet leaks by performing a simple test. Follow these steps:

1. First, get some food coloring.
2. Remove the lid from the toilet tank.
3. Drop a few drops of the food coloring into the tank of the toilet.
4. Wait about 15 minutes.
5. Check the water in the toilet bowl. If the food coloring that you put into the toilet tank is now visible in the toilet bowl, then you have a leak. 

Often, this type of leak can be fixed by replacing the flapper. The flapper normally wears out over time, but it is inexpensive and easy to fix. Here’s how:

1. Turn the shutoff valve to stop the water supply to the toilet.
2. Flush the toilet so that the water drains out of the tank.
3. Remove the flapper from the hooks on the overflow tube.
4. Unhook the flapper chain from the arm.
5. Remove and discard the old flapper.
6. Place the new flapper, and attach it to the hooks on the overflow tube.
7. Attach the new flapper chain to the arm, adjusting the length of the chain as necessary.
8. Turn the water supply back on. Flush the toilet, and check for leaks.

There is one more test that you can use to detect another type of toilet leak. Use these steps:

1. Remove the lid from the toilet tank.
2. Drop a small amount of flour or talcum powder onto the surface of the water in the tank.
3. Carefully watch the powder to see whether it floats toward the overflow tube. If it does float toward the overflow tube, then you have an overflow leak. This can be fixed by replacing the float valve.

Here’s how you can replace the float valve.

1. First, turn off the water supply and flush the toilet to empty the tank.
2. Disconnect the tube that goes from the wall to the toilet tank.
3. Remove the float valve. You will need to use a wrench to loosen the nut that holds it in place.
4. Place the rubber washers that came with the new float valve into the hole at the base of the tank.
5. Insert the new float valve, and tighten the nut on the underneath of the toilet tank.
6. Reconnect the tube that runs from the wall to the tank. Make sure that all of the connections are tight.
7. Turn the water supply back on, and flush the toilet. Watch for leaks.

These simple repairs can eliminate leaks and save you thousands of gallons of water. For help in finding and fixing leaks in your home, call Scott English Plumbing.