Tackle The Toilet

Contributed by the Regional Water Providers Consortium

According to the EPA, 10 percent of homes in the U.S. have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons of water day. Toilets are one of the most common culprits – and also one of the easiest to detect and fix. Oftentimes, the most common problem is a worn flapper valve that needs to be replaced. This is a simple and inexpensive fix.

Does the sound of running water from your toilet never stop? Perhaps your toilet runs on and off throughout the day, without being flushed? Or maybe your toilet doesn’t make any noise at all? Either way, many homeowners don’t know when their toilet isn’t working properly—but toilet troubles add up, affecting both the environment and your water bill. Surprisingly, one leaky toilet can fill an entire swimming pool with water after just one year.

That’s why the Regional Water Providers Consortium wants you to Tackle the Toilet this spring. With toilets using more water than any other appliance in the home—nearly 27% of indoor water use—addressing toilet troubles is the first step to conserve water, save money and protect the environment.

Use these “Four Rs” to tackle your toilet and start saving water and money inside your home this spring:

1. REMEMBER: Remember to check your toilet for leaks twice a year. Tying the schedule to easy-to-remember annual events (like Memorial Day in the spring and Thanksgiving in the fall) is a great way to make sure it gets done. To check for leaks, add 10 drops of food coloring inside your toilet tank. After 10-15 minutes, if your toilet bowl water changes color, you have a leak.

2. REPAIR: Learn how to fix leaks. Most leaks can be fixed by do-it-yourselfers by installing inexpensive replacement parts. Visit the Regional Water Providers website to view a short how-to video on repairing a leaky toilet.

3. RETROFIT: If purchasing a new toilet is not possible, you can retrofit an older toilet (those that use 3.5 gallons of water per flush or more) so that it uses less water each time it flushes. Two options include installing a toilet tank displacement bag or a fill cycle diverter; many local water providers offer these to their customers for free.

4. REPLACE: Replace older toilets with a WaterSense high-efficiency toilet. Older toilets use up to four times more water per flush. Many local water providers in the Portland metro area provide rebates for replacing inefficient toilets. Contact your local water provider to learn more about available tools and assistance

The Regional Water Providers Consortium (a group of 22 local water providers plus the regional government Metro) is committed to good stewardship of our region’s water through conservation, emergency preparedness planning and water supply coordination. The consortium provides resources and information to help individual and commercial customers save water. http://www.conserveh2o.org

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