If your utility bills have begun to creep up, there may be an unexpected culprit to blame: your toilet. According to HGTV.com, your toilet uses about 30% of your home’s water. If you notice a change in your water bill, your toilet could have leaks or other issues that prevent it from functioning at peak efficiency. Plus, if you have an older toilet model, its design might not allow it to conserve water.
Here are three ways to improve your toilet’s efficiency and lower your water bill.
1. Ask a Plumber for Leak Testing
According to conserveh20.org, water leaks can amount to 12% of your home’s water usage. Just like your faucets, your toilet can develop leaks. If you hear running or trickling water when you’re not using your toilet, there’s probably a leak. But sometimes you won’t notice any signs at all.
Ask an experienced plumber to test your toilet for leaks. The plumber drops a dye tablet into your toilet tank. He or she then waits about 15 minutes. If the plumber notices color appearing in your toilet bowl, that means you have a toilet leak.
2. Get Your Toilet Repaired
If your toilet does have a leak, it’s important to get it repaired right away. Not only could it affect your water bill, but a leaking toilet could damage your floor as well.
To repair your toilet, the plumber will first shut off the water supply and remove the water line. They’ll check for common problems like a broken flange or wax ring or a flange that’s too low. The flange is a pipe fitting that mounts the toilet to the floor and attaches the toilet drain to the main drain. The wax ring helps the flange by sealing the gap between the flange and the toilet.
Depending on the problem, your plumber may need to replace the flange or the wax ring. If the flange is too low, they can add extenders. If there is a leak in your water line, they may need to replace the damaged pipe.
Adding certain features to your toilet may prevent leaks in the future. For example, replacing your copper water lines with flexible stainless steel water lines can help prevent leaks. Your plumber can also add a water shut-off valve. This can help you quickly shut off the water supply to your toilet if it starts to overflow.
3. Upgrade Your Toilet
Another option to improve toilet efficiency is to purchase a new toilet. New toilet models are designed to conserve water. Look for a high-efficiency toilet. Toilets that use 1.28 gallons of water or less come with the EPA’s WaterSense label. These toilets use 20% less water than standard toilets.
Finally, if you want an energy-efficient toilet, look for a pressure-assisted toilet. These toilets conserve water by using built-up air pressure rather than gravity to remove water from the toilet tank. Note that pressure-assisted toilets require 25 pounds per square inch of pressure in your water lines to run. Similarly, power-assisted toilets use an electric motor. The motor creates air pressure that removes water and waste.
Something else to look for is a dual-flush toilet. With this toilet, you can conserve water by choosing between a low-water flush for liquid waste and a regular flush for solid waste.
Addressing your inefficient toilet is one of the best ways to save money on your water bill. Testing for leaks, getting your toilet repaired, or choosing a new toilet can save you money in the long-run. If your toilet isn’t as energy efficient as you’d like it to be, talk to a plumber from HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains.