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Is your toilet leaking money?

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Save money on your water bill

Older toilet models and leaking toilets are not only unsightly, they're also huge causes of wasted water. This can have a serious impact on your water bill. Learn how to improve your efficiency and save money.
Toilet

Unless you take steps to upgrade the toilets in your home, you're wasting water with every trip to the bathroom. This has an impact on the environment as well as your wallet. Learn how to save money on your water bill by managing the toilets in your home.

What's with all the water?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toilets make up about 30 percent of an average home's indoor water use. That's a lot of water for one quick flush. If your toilet has a leak, it could be contributing to even more usage. Here's a scary statistic from the EPA: 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more every single day. Is your home one of them?

How do you fix a toilet leak?

While some leaks require the help of a professional, there are steps you can take at home to fix basic leaks. First, see if the flapper is the issue. The EPA recommends adding a drop of food coloring to the toilet bowl tank. If the coloring shows up in the bowl before you've flushed, you've got a leak. Make sure you flush within 20 minutes to avoid staining. Clean the valve in the tank and the area around it carefully. Replace the flapper valve if it shows signs of wear and tear or mineral deposits. If your toilet runs or you find you need to flush more than once to clear the bowl, call your plumber.

When is it time to replace a toilet?

If you have an older model toilet, every single flush is wasting water. The thought of replacing your toilet might make you wince, but in the long run you'll be saving money. In many areas of the U.S., rebates are offered to offset the cost of purchasing a new, efficient toilet. Check to see if a rebate is available where you live. Even if you foot the bill yourself, the toilet should pay for itself in a few years by saving you money on your water bill.

What kind of toilet should you look for?

WaterSense seal

Toilets that reduce water waste are labeled with a WaterSense seal, which means the fixture meets government standards of efficiency. While you're upgrading your bathroom, look into sink, bath and shower fixtures with the WaterSense label. Remember, even if your toilet isn't leaking, it's using more water than necessary if it isn't an efficient model. As you and your family focus on lowering your water bill, consider measures such as not flushing when the toilet only contains urine. It might not be a practice you want to adopt when guests are over, but between you and your family, it's a small step to take to conserve water.

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