Running water can be soothing. The sound of waves can help people sleep. When it comes from a dripping faucet or leaky toilet tank, however, water can be expensive.
At any given time the American Water Works Association estimates that 20% of all toilets leak. These leaks are either not of concern or have yet to be identified. A leaking toilet can waste 25 times more water than a shower leak and four times more water than a faucet leak.
A leaking toilet can waste up to 250 gallons per day or more than $100 per month. A 300 suite condo building may have 500 toilets of which 100 may have leaks. This amounts to an estimated $10,000 per month or $120,000 per year wasted because of leaking toilets. Leaking showers and faucets add to this cost.
With so much money at stake it is surprising that more condo corporations don’t take measures to stop the loss.
Internal components of a toilet wear out over time and require replacement. A damaged flapper, float, lever or chain periodically needs to be replaced or recalibrated.
Toilet bowl cleaners, many of which contain chlorine and other chemicals, can cause flappers to prematurely wear out. These cleaners should be avoided in toilets unlikely to be used for a period of time after cleaning.
An easy way to determine if your toilet is leaking is to insert a couple of drops of food colouring in the tank. Wait 30 minutes then check the bowl. Coloured water in the bowl means a running toilet leak.
One way to efficiently check all suites for toilet leaks is to have an annual check on all toilets. This may be described as a plumbing audit where toilets, showers and faucets are checked for leaks. A plumbing audit can be undertaken by building employees or a qualified plumber. Identified problems can be immediately rectified, likely at a cost less than that of the water being wasted.
For the technology-inclined, the Toilet Scrooge is an electronic device that sits at the base of the toilet. It monitors toilet fill cycles, times of use and flushes per day. This wireless device allows management to know when small leaks start and deal with them before they become big leaks.