(From the Portland, OR Water Bureau)
Want a quick way to lower your water bill? Check for water leaks, starting with the toilet.
In an average residence, 22 gallons of water are lost to leakage each day, and the most common culprits are leaking toilets or dripping faucets. This daily leakage volume is about equal to the amount of drinking water a family of 3 needs for two full weeks! The annual sewer and water cost for 22 gallons of leakage per day is $80 per household (based on rates in Portland, OR).
It is not uncommon to find toilets leaking much more water than the average 22 gallons. Silent toilets leaks can account for up to 300 gallons of day of lost water without anybody noticing the leakage. This size of leak costs over $500 dollars a year and should be repaired immediately.
To check your toilet for leaks:
1. Lift off the toilet tank lid. Without flushing, place 2 dye tablets (or 10 drops of food coloring) in the toilet tank.
2. If water in the bowl turns color even slightly within 30 minutes, you have a toilet leak.
Deteriorated flapper valves are the most common source of leaks. If your check for leaks showed that water was passing from your tank to the bowl then you probably need to replace the flapper valve. It won't do much to stop the overdraft; but judging from the early performance of "the new regime" at the Borrego Water District, it will probably do a lot more than they will. Anyway, every little bit helps and costs from leaking toilets can really add up.