# Leaky Toilet -- how much water will it waste?

• posted on September 23, 2004, 9:04 pm
My water bill went from \$25 a month to \$400. The utility says that it was a leaky toilet. I did have a toilet leak during this time, but could it really use this much? My usage record has me using 1,000 -6,000 gallons a day when I usually use about 50. Could this really only be a running toilet?
Thanks,
Andrew
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• posted on September 23, 2004, 10:03 pm
Andrew Richman wrote:

Have they rechecked the reading? Sometimes meter-readers make a mistake. They'll usually send someone out for a recheck, although they may require that you be present.
Brian
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• posted on September 23, 2004, 10:08 pm
Andrew Richman wrote:

There are 1440 minutes in a day. I expect the refilling flow rate of a typical toilet is somewhere around 2-3 gallons a minute with the fill valve wide open. That'd occur if the flap valve was stuck open so all the water was going down the drain and the toilet's fill valve never shut off.
So, it's possible to use well over a thousand gallons a day on that kind of leaking toilet, but you'd have to be deaf not to notice it yourself.
If it's the more common slight leak past a deteriorated flap valve, the daily usage will be a LOT less than that.
It's not rocket science to calculate that stuff out yourself. For the first case you could measure how long it takes the toilet to refill with a properly closed flap valve and just measure the dimensions of the tank and the height the water refills to, then calculate what the flow rate had to have been. (There are 231 cubic inches in a gallon.)
For the second case you could prop or tie the float valve up so the fill valve was closed and measure how long it took for the water level in the tank do drop a few inches, then do the math.
Capiche?
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More to the point, have you watched your water meter for an hour or so with everything using water in your house shut off? It shouldn't move at all under those conditions. If it does, start looking for a leak.
Is your house built on a slab with waterpipes from after the meter running under the concrete? It's not uncommon for leaks to develop there where they may not be noticed. I hope for you sake thats' not the case, because repairing those kind of leaks takes MUCHO dinero.
HTH,
Jeff
--
My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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• posted on September 24, 2004, 8:24 pm
Last winter I had occasion to force a small leak in three of our toilets. The bathrooms in this two family attached house are one on in the same line and the chase that holds the pipes that serve them is adjacent to a vacant, unheated house. So the pipes were subject to freezing when the temperature dropped into the teens. We therefore wanted to keep the water flowing at a trickle at all times to prevent freezing, so I tied a weight to a piece of string looped around the overflow pipe and placed the string under the flapper to prevent a perfect seal. In addition, some basin taps were also open a trickle. Admittedly, this was only for about a dozen days in the 3 month billing period, but we did not notice any major changes in the water bill. So if this were a small leak, you should not see a 16:1 increase in usage.
--
Peace,
BobJ

"Jeff Wisnia" < snipped-for-privacy@conversent.net> wrote in message
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• posted on September 24, 2004, 10:43 pm
You can loose a galon or more a minute through a flapper. Monitor your meter overnight. Also a previous reading or present may be off.
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• posted on September 25, 2004, 2:54 pm
On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 17:43:40 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I read somewhere that a faucet that drips once a second will use 6 gallons a day. Can anyone verify that?
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• posted on September 25, 2004, 6:32 pm
Andy Asberry wrote:

If I was still teaching students I'd tell you to inmrove your chances of getting a "A" from be by doing it yourself, but I'm feeling good today, and you piqued my curiosity, so here goes. (noblese oblige.)
Googling quickly locates the volume of "a drop" of water. It's .05 ml. (I suppose that would vary a little with the shape and surface conditions of what it's dripping off from and the purity of the water too, but let's use that number for now...)
http://www.alumni.ca/~walkerd/sf7.html
There are 86400 seconds in a day. (A number I'll never be able to forget because I used to help make atomic clocks for the GPS satellites.)
86,400 * .05ml = 4320 ml
Plugging this in at:
http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/volume
Gives us 1.141 gallons, not even 20 percent of what you "read somewhere".
(Don't believe everything you read Andy...)
HTH
Jeff
--
My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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• posted on September 26, 2004, 2:21 am
On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 14:32:18 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

verify my answer. Or not, it seems. Thanks for the education. I have another question on this subject but I will do my "homework" first.

so years ago during a drought.

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• posted on September 26, 2004, 3:38 am
On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 14:32:18 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

Jeff, if you are going to correct the papers of the world, you will have a steady job.
http://energyoutlet.com/res/waterheat/hotwater.html states that 60 drops per minute of HOT water equals 168 gallons/month.
http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/water/conserve/medchome.htm says 190-260/month
http://www.wichita.gov/CityOffices/WaterAndSewer/CustomerService/WaterConservation.htm 113/month
http://www.ci.lamar.co.us/drop_by_drop.htm 2400/year
http://www.seo.state.nm.us/water-info/water-trivia.html 192/month
I did learn from this little exercise. I now know that the viscosity of water at 20 degrees C is 1.0016 centipoise. A word I had never even heard before.
My new question: How many drops per minute possible from our leaking faucet before it becomes a stream? Yes, I did search. I've read how to produce methane gas from cow manure, the most effective spray droplet size for fire fighting and number of drops of bleach or iodine to purify water.
:))
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• posted on September 26, 2004, 8:02 am
I have a dripping faucet, and it's on my 'honey-do' list. I kept putting it off because I need to install cutoff valves. SWMBO claimed that it was going to drive up our water bill. Last 2 months were for \$6.35 worth of water each month. It's still on the list, and I find it offending to see it leak, but she sees that other items can come first.

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• posted on September 27, 2004, 2:04 am
Andy Asberry wrote:

http://www.wichita.gov/CityOffices/WaterAndSewer/CustomerService/WaterConservation.htm
I'm glad I left myself some wiggle room with a parenthetical musing about all drops maybe not being created equal...

I'm gonna leave that for the someone else. After all, "We can't see the same hands raised all the time."
Jeff
--
My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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• posted on September 25, 2004, 6:05 pm
On 23 Sep 2004 14:04:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com (Andrew Richman) wrote:

I had intermittent leakage that was driving me nuts and my bills up. It was caused by the flapper chain plastic links acquiring a kink now and then during the flush cycle. The water pressure was strong enough to keep the flapper down during refill but not let it seat properly because the single kink in the chain made it slightly shorter. So there was this unpredictable, moderate but long duration leak that might correct itself with the next flush.. I could not diagnose the problem because looking into the mechanism everything looked normal and functioned normally. Eventually it was a faint but persistent squirting sound in the plumbing pipes that caught my attention and traced it to the toilet fill tube. I could only hear this in the middle of the night when everything was quiet and I lying in bed unable to sleep. This was quite an achievement as the washroom was two doors from mine and at my age most people would have hearing loss problems.
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• posted on September 25, 2004, 6:22 pm
If you figure a leaky toilet at 1 galon a minute, that would be 60 gals an hour. Or about 2440 galons a day. 6K a day sounds a bit much, but do-able. If it was running full blast.
--

Christopher A. Young
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• posted on September 25, 2004, 11:26 pm

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• posted on October 1, 2004, 3:08 pm
Thanks for the help. I am figureing that it is right. The Toilet must have run full blast on the 6,000 gallon day.
Bummer.
Andrew
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• posted on October 1, 2004, 3:35 pm

As others have calculated, even if it were pulling a gallon per minute for a full 24-hour cycle, it would've only gotten 60*24 = 1440 gallons. You'd need it to be pulling over four gallons a minute to go through 6000 gallons in a single day--which would be one impressive john, and very, very noticeable. I don't think I'd be able to put up with that much noise for a single flush, not to mention all that noise for 24 hours, running continuously...
-D.
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• posted on October 3, 2004, 1:06 am
tree root outside might have broken your supply or irrig main? but you should see a river running from your yard. maybe the meter's broken