According to Seattle Public Utilities a leaky faucet can cost the average household in Seattle up to $200 a year on their utility bill. While that may not seem like a lot of money, why throw cash down the drain?
Repairing a leaky faucet doesn”t require a professional plumber, all the time here are a few tips from Bob Oates, owner of Bob Oates Sewer and Rooter, located in Seattle, WA.
It’s Only a Small Drip…Right?
Slow drips of water can add up quickly. A toilet that “keeps running” after you flush or a sink that drips after it is turned off can waste thousands of gallons of water a year. If the drip is hot water, you are paying for wasted energy too. Fix leaks as soon as you find them. They won’t go away on their own.
A “Running” Toilet Leak
Toilet leaks can range from small to large, constant or random. Many are even silent. Even a small, silent leak can easily waste $50 per year in water and sewer costs. Large leaks can waste much more. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are relatively easy to fix. In a properly functioning toilet, no water should move from the tank to the bowl, unless the toilet is being flushed. A leaking toilet loses water from the tank to the bowl without being flushed.
- Remove the tank lid. (Don’t worry, this water is clean until it enters the bowl.)
- Add some food coloring or a dye tablet to turn the water a different color. Put the tank lid back on.
- After about 30 minutes, look in the bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak. If the water is clear, water is not leaking from the tank to the bowl.
If you do have a leak, there are a number of possible causes. If you remove the tank lid and can easily identify the cause, correct the problem and try your leak test again. Consider that “fixes” such as bending the float back to shape, or adjusting how the rubber flapper falls, often end up failing soon afterward. In most cases, you will simply want to replace the toilet flapper (the rubber thing at the bottom of the tank that keeps water in the tank) and/or the filling mechanism.
These are available at hardware stores and home centers for about $8 each.
A leaking faucet is frequently the result of a bad rubber washer. The washer on a sink is typically located under the handle. A washer is relatively easy to replace, if you have the right tools. It does require shutting off the water under the faucet, and removing the handle.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repair yourself, a plumber may be your best option. Remember, even if you have to pay a plumber to fix the leak, you will end up saving money in the long run.