You already know that a leaking toilet can cause all kinds of problems, from annoyance to water damage, but what about its effects on your water bill and your wallet?
When you’re busy trying to prevent your bathroom from flooding or trying to avoid losing your mind from the constant dripping noise, your bills might be the last thing on your mind—but you should be thinking about them. If you have a leaking toilet, you absolutely should be worried about your water bill. (Link)
Leaking toilets can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day, which in turn makes your water bill go up significantly. In fact, leaking toilets are the number one cause of high water bills.
Protecting your wallet from astronomically high water bills is yet another reason why you should fix a leaky toilet as soon as you notice the problem.
Here is everything you need to know about the effects of a leaky toilet on your bills.
How Much Water Will A Leaking Toilet Use?
The reason why leaking toilets cause higher water bills is that they use more water than a regular toilet. While a regular toilet only takes water from the pipes when you flush, a leaking toilet drips continuously.
Even if you’re dealing with a small leak, those drips add up if the water is flowing continuously!
So how much water can a leaking toilet really use?
The answer is stunning—a continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day!
That’s up to double a family’s average water use, according to some statistics. The small dripping noise may feel insignificant, but it could be siphoning away your family’s water supply drip by drip.
While 200 extra gallons per day is a rule of thumb, that figure can vary depending on your situation.
There are a few factors that affect how much water a toilet will waste, including:
- The size of the leak.
- The type of toilet you have (dual-flush toilets are surprisingly more prone to leaks)
- The length of time the leak has been present.
Two hundred extra gallons of water a day is extremely wasteful for the environment and will cause your water bills to skyrocket.
If you notice a leaking toilet, fix it right away.
How Much Money Could A Leaking Toilet Cost You?
Now that you know how much extra water a leaking toilet wastes, you’ve probably already figured out that the addition to your water bill won’t be pretty.
Of course, the exact cost depends on the cost of water in your municipality. However, a good rule of thumb is that a small leaking toilet can add $1,000 to your annual water bill! A larger leak will cost you much more, around $2,500 a year.
If you’ve got a leaking toilet, try to fix it yourself or call a plumber right away. Chances are that your plumbing bill won’t be anywhere near as high as the cost of letting a leaking toilet stay unaddressed!
How Can You Tell If A Leaky Toilet Is Behind Your High Water Bill?
It’s not always obvious that a leaking toilet is also draining your money, especially if you only have a small leak that doesn’t add a massive amount to your monthly water bill.
However, if you notice that your water bill is even moderately higher than usual, then it’s worth investigating whether a leaky toilet is to blame.
There are a few other factors that can cause higher water bills besides a leaky toilet. They include:
- Leaky faucets.
- Having more people (water users) in the house than usual.
- Water-cooled air conditioners.
- Broken pipes or underground leaks.
Your water bill will also change depending on the season.
Many people have slightly higher water bills in the summer because they use water-cooled air conditioners or water their lawns. Households in very cold climates have higher water bills in the winter because they run water continuously to avoid frozen pipes.
However, if your higher water bill can’t be explained away with a seasonal fluctuation, it’s time to go leak hunting.
There are a few tests you can use to figure out if you have a leaky toilet.
The first is to just observe your fixture. If you notice dripping noises, phantom flushes, or other strange sounds, or you see water dripping into the bowl or around the toilet, then you know you are dealing with a leak.
Other leaks, especially smaller ones leading from the tank to the bowl, are less obvious. In that case, you can use the food dye test to see if your toilet is leaking.
Place a few drops of food dye in the tank and don’t flush or touch your toilet for 20-30 minutes. If after that time the water in the bowl changes color, that means you have a slow leak. Even if the leak is small enough that it doesn’t bother you with noises or affect the working of your toilet, it can still add a significant amount to your water bill.
What Are the Causes Of A Leaky Toilet?
Once you’ve figured out that your leaky toilet is the delinquent behind your abnormally high water bill, it’s time to figure out the culprit behind your leak.
You should fix your leaky toilet immediately, not just to save money, but also to prevent further damage to the mechanism of your toilet. Before you can do any repairs, you have to identify the cause of the issue.
Usually, the main cause behind a leaky toilet is the flapper. (Link) A toilet flapper is the little rubber stopper that stops water from flowing continuously into the bowl, only allowing passage from the tank when you flush the toilet. If the flapper is worn out or if the chain is not the right length, then it doesn’t fit perfectly over the gap and allows a leak to form.
Luckily, replacing a toilet flapper is easy and affordable, especially with plenty of articles online to guide you through the process. If you look inside the tank and the flapper looks fine, then there are a few other potential causes for the leak.
Check that the fill and flush valves are working as they should. These two valves dictate the level of water inside your toilet tank, the fill valve by controlling the water coming into the tank, and the flush valve by letting water leave the tank. If the float on your fill valve is too high, the water level in your tank is too high and is overflowing, causing the leak.
Most leaky toilets are fairly simple fixes that you can do at home with some basic tools and instructions from the Internet.
However, if you still can’t identify the cause of your leaky toilet after poking around in the tank or you’re just not confident in your DIY skills, then it’s time to call in a professional.
A professional plumber can also check your other fixtures and identify the source of your abnormally high water bill if it turns out that your toilet is not the culprit after all.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re wondering about the connection between your leaky toilet and your water bills, here are a few other things you may want to know.
How Much Damage Can A Leaking Toilet Cause?
There are a few ways to answer this question.
In terms of financial damage, a leaking toilet can cost you $1,000-$2,000 a year in extra water bills alone. That’s not including additional damage to your plumbing, flooring, and ceilings. So, address the leak before it gets bigger.
To avoid wasting your money and causing structural damage to your home, fix a leaking toilet as soon as you notice an issue.
Is Leaking Toilet Damage Covered By Your Insurance?
The answer depends.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage from a leaking seal as long as you can prove that the damage occurred quickly and not due to a mistake on your part, whether in terms of installation or not addressing the problem quickly enough. However, insurance will not reimburse you for smaller damages or for higher water bills that you incurred due to a leaky toilet.
Most homeowners’ insurance won’t cover other plumbing issues, such as flooded sewage systems, so look into extra options to cover that damage and read the terms of your coverage closely.
The Final Word On Leaking Toilets And Water Bills
There are many aspects to a leaking toilet that go beyond annoyance when you hear that persistent dripping noise at night as you’re trying to sleep.
Even a small leak that doesn’t cause additional damage to your plumbing system can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day, adding thousands of dollars to your annual water bill!
If you notice that your water bill for the month is higher than usual, check to ensure that you don’t have a leaking toilet or other fixture that you didn’t notice and fix the problem as soon as possible.