Don't Flush Money Down the Toilet

Home Inspector with Dream Home Inspections/203K Consultant

Original content by Preston Sandlin

Water conservation is becoming a household necessity due to more states declaring drought emergencies each year. Plus, not only does water conservation help the environment, but it also puts less strain on the pocketbook.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Palmer Drought Index shows from a recent governmental survey at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional or statewide water shortages by 2013, only five years away.

Homeowners can help reduce their water usage and shrink their water bill by looking at one of the biggest potential water wasters in the home -- their toilet. Repairing a leaky toilet can save up to 200 gallons of water a day or more than $365 a year on your water bill, depending on the varying cost of water in your area and the severity of the leak.

One way to identify a leaky toilet is to add a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If -- when the toilet is not running -- the coloring seeps into the toilet bowl, it signals a leak at the flapper. Another simple way to recognize toilet leaks is to install a Fluidmaster Leak Sentry Fill Valve or Leak Guard Fill Valve on your toilet. After detecting a leak, these valves "lock" the refilling of a tank without disabling the toilet. Homeowners are made aware of the leak because they have to push the lever twice to flush the toilet.

Other signs that a toilet is leaking include the sound of running water and the toilet turning on and off without being flushed. You may need to replace the flapper, the handle or adjust the water level in the tank to make sure water isn't being wasted in your toilet.

Homeowners can also replace 3.5 or 5.0 gallons per flush toilets with low-flow or high-efficiency models, which use less water per flush, saving hundreds of gallons of water per week in a house.

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