High water bills are often caused by leaking toilets. Water can flow through an open fill valve at a rate of three to five gallons per minute—that’s up to 4,000 gallons of water being wasted each day! If you find a toilet leak or notice a significant increase in your water and sewer bill, don’t wait to have it repaired. If you cannot make the necessary repairs yourself, call a licensed master plumber. We recommend that you test each toilet in your home for leaks once a year. For more information, download Repair Your Leaking Toilets.
How Do I Check for a Toilet Leak
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Learn about the EPA WaterSense® Program and the benefits of using certified high-efficiency toilets, showerheads, and faucets.
What can cause a toilet leak?
The two most common causes of a toilet leak are the flapper or fill valve. To check for these leaks, lift the tank lid and look at the back wall of the toilet tank. You will see a water line that marks the level at which water fills the tank. Mark the actual water level with a pencil, then flush the toilet and watch the tank refill. If the water rises to a level above the pencil mark (and then goes down afterward), then you probably have a flapper leak. If the water level rises to a point below the pencil mark and then rises above it, you probably have a faulty fill valve.
Don’t Wait. Repair a Leaking Toilet Right Away!
How Do I Repair a Toilet Leak?
It is likely that your toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush. You can confirm this by looking for a “1.6 gpf/6 lpf” imprint on the back top surface of the bowl behind the back of the toilet seat. You may want to consider investing in a new high-efficiency toilet for better flushing performance, saving your family about $7 per person per year.
There are also fill valve products that help to prevent the constant filling and draining of a toilet tank that is often caused by a toilet flapper leak. These products guard against constant refilling by ensuring that a leaking tank is refilled only when the toilet is flushed. If the flapper leaks, these products will allow the tank to drain first and will ensure that the tank remains empty, rather than constantly refilling. The next time someone flushes the toilet, they will have to flush twice—once to refill the tank and a second time to flush the toilet. This prevents water waste caused by a constantly refilling toilet. Fluidmaster’s Leak Sentry Pro 400LS” and the “HydroClean” are examples of such fill valves.
Note: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection does not endorse any of these products.
You may way to consider investing in a new high-efficiency toilet. High-efficiency toilets use less water and can save you about $30-$40 per year for each person in your home. These toilets use flappers that are resistant to chlorine corrosion which can help prevent leaks, and they have improved fill valves that do not leak like old-style ball cock/float valves.
About 30% of the residential toilets in New York City do not have tanks. Instead, they use a flushometer-valve toilet with a hand valve that is attached to a pipe coming out of the wall. This type of toilet does not have many moving parts but leaks can still occur. If you have a flushometer-valve toilet, take the following precautions: