by Elena Freeman
Leaking toilets cause more water waste than any other fixture in the home. Even a silent toilet leak can waste from 30 to 500 gallons of water per day! The ones you do hear can waste even more.
As an MMWD Water Conservation Specialist, I regularly perform water-use efficiency surveys for customers through our Conservation Assistance Program. Last month I assisted a customer at a home in San Rafael who was very concerned about some increasingly high water bills. The property included a pool and hot tub, and every inch of the 1/3 acre property was irrigated. Even so, their average water use of 1,260 gallons per day seemed high for two people. The homeowner suspected the irrigation system had leaks. In the past rodents had chewed the irrigation lines.
We made sure all the water-using fixtures in the house and the irrigation system were turned off, and then I checked the water meter. It showed constant movement at a rate of over 450 gallons per day! It turned out there were two silently leaking toilets. The homeowner was relieved to find out there was something that could be fixed to stop the high bills and the waste.
Many toilets only run at night. That’s because most people are asleep at night and much less water is used during these hours, with a result that the water pressure in the supply system can rise considerably during this time. The rise in pressure can cause “water creep” inside your gravity-fed toilet tank by 1/2 inch or more. That is why toilet manufacturers normally suggest setting the water level at approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube.
When was the last time you checked your toilets for leaks and water level adjustment? It’s not hard to do. MMWD has an easy step-by-step guide to help you check your toilets for leaks and check the flow rates of all your indoor plumbing fixtures to make sure your house is water efficient. You can find the Do-It-Yourself Home Water Survey on our website.
The Do-It-Yourself kit is also now available at the MMWD customer service lobby for customers without internet access. Visit us at 220 Nellen Avenue in Corte Madera to pick up your copy. Toilet dye tablets for testing toilets are also available there.
If you would prefer to have one of our water conservation experts perform a survey for you, call us at 945-1523 to schedule a free appointment.