You have just laid down in bed after a long day and then you hear it. The toilet is running again and you’re forced to get up and jiggle the handle to silence it. One of the most common household leaks our technicians see every day is the leaky toilet.
Ignoring it for any length of time can cause your water bill to skyrocket. A leaking toilet can use up to 90,000 gallons of water in 30 days and a typical toilet leak can add as much as $500 to your monthly water bill. If your toilet is constantly running, or even intermittently running, without you flushing it, then you have a leak somewhere.
But don’t worry, replacing the toilet flapper is an easy, quick and cheap do-it-yourself project you can tackle. How do you know if the toilet flapper (the small rubber gasket at the bottom of the tank) is causing the leak? Look for any telltale signs of wear on the rubber. When was the last time you replaced it? If the rubber shows any discoloration or black residue covers your hands after touching it, your flapper is the culprit.
Another way to test if your flapper is causing a leak entails putting a few drops of household food coloring in the back of the tank. If the chosen color runs into the bowl without flushing, then you have a flapper leak.
It’s a good rule of thumb to inspect each toilet flapper in your home once a year to make sure it’s not causing a leak and higher water bills. They range in price from $2 to $12. As with other plumbing materials, the higher quality product you purchase, the longer it will last. Comprised of rubber or soft plastic, they will wear down and degrade as time passes.