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H2O Facts

How much do you know about conserving H2O?

Read interesting facts about water conservation focused  on the toilet from Fluidmaster®

flush toilet

Is my toilet leaking?
What causes it to leak?
How do I fix it?


The majority of homeowners (88%) know that fixing a leaky toilet can help save money and water.

  • However, 35 percent are unaware that a leaky, running toilet wastes more water than a dripping faucet.
  • In fact, repairing a leaking toilet can save hundreds of gallons a day.

Approximately one in five homeowners (19%) suspects at least one toilet is not working properly.

  • Signs that the toilet is leaking include the sound of running water and the toilet turning on and off without being flushed.
  • After discovering that a toilet is not functioning properly, more than half (61%) of all homeowners indicated a willingness to go to a hardware store or home center to buy a part and fix it themselves rather than call a plumber.

Many municipal water utility districts offer incentives or rebates for replacing older models with low-flow or HET toilet models.

  • Replacing older 3.5 gpf or 5.0 gpf toilets with low-flow 1.6 gpf toilets or HET (1.28 gpf) toilets can save hundreds of gallons of water per week.
  • When it comes time to replace the flapper, install the Universal Water Saving Long Life Toilet Flapper( Fluidmaster® 502) on 1.6 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets because it can be adjusted to control the amount of water used in the flush.

Sixty-six percent of Americans would be motivated to make more of an effort to conserve water if they were able to see water and money savings each month.

  • Sharing the monthly water bill and usage statement with all members of the household can help encourage water conservation in the home.

Only one percent (1%) of the world’s entire water supply is available for human use – the rest is salty or locked in icecaps and glaciers.

  • This small percent must satisfy the planet’s agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, community, household and sanitation needs.
  • Americans actually drink very little (less two percent) of our processed “drinking water” – the rest of the water used in the home goes on lawns, in washing machines, and down toilets and drains.

Nearly all homeowners in the U.S., or approximately 95 percent, consider water conservation to be an important topic.

  • In fact, 94 percent of homeowners are as concerned or more concerned today about water conservation than they were ten years ago, with more than half of homeowners stating that their concern has increased in the past decade.

More than two-thirds (69%) of homeowners believe that their individual water-saving efforts can have a great effect on the national water supply.

  • Homeowners can protect the environment while also reducing utility bills by ensuring that plumbing fixtures are functioning properly in the home.
  • The Fluidmaster Leak Sentry™ Fill Valve helps ensure that a leaky toilet is identified because of a change in how it functions, taking the guesswork out of toilet repair.
  • The valve’s unique “locking” action prevents endless refilling of a leaky tank without disabling the toilet. Pushing the tank lever releases the lock on the fill valve float, allowing the valve to fill the tank. Now when the homeowner pushes the tank lever again, the toilet will flush normally.

H20 Facts, Toilet Troubles

Is my toilet leaking?

When compared to all the other uses of water in the home, a leaky toilet is the main culprit, wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day if not properly maintained. These leaks can add up, affecting both the environment as well as a homeowner’s utility bill. Surprisingly, the water waste from one leaky toilet can fill a backyard swimming pool within a year.

Repairing or replacing a leaky toilet can be one of the first steps a person can take to conserve water, save money and protect the environment.

How do I know my toilet is leaking?

Usually, the signs that your toilet needs repair are audible, clear and, well, wet. A toilet that turns on and off without being flushed or the sound of running water inside the tank when it’s not being used are both signs of a toilet that is leaking water.

Think you have a Troublesome Toilet?
Perform a simple “leak detection test”:

  1. First, take off the tank lid and flush the toilet.
  2. After the flapper closes and as the tank starts to fill with water, add several drops of food coloring (red of blue works best); wait 10 minutes.
  3. If there are any leaks at the flapper, the water in the toilet bowl will turn the color of the food coloring. This is a sure sign that it is time to replace your flapper and start saving water.

Other Lid-Lifting Reasons to Check Your Toilet

  1. If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the open flush position, it is letting water run down the drain. Replace or adjust the handle.
  2. Any toilet model can have parts damaged by in-tank, drop-in cleaners containing chlorine, causing deterioration of flapper or part. Use a bowl cleaner like Flush ‘n Sparkle that dispense the cleaning agent into the overflow tube, which delivers it directly to the bowl, not into the tank.
  3. If your toilet needs multiple flushes to clear the bowl, the flapper may not be staying open long enough to allow sufficient water to go into the bowl for the flush.
  4. The water level in the tank may be set at the wrong level: too little and there will be insufficient water for a proper flush; too high and you risk the water running over the top of the overflow tube.

What causes it to leak?

Worn parts, faulty installation and incorrect parts can cause your toilet to leak or use unnecessary amounts of water, setting you up for major water waste. Toilet troubles can typically be traced back to either a fill or flush component.

The flush component of the toilet control the release of water from the tank into the bowl once the handle/lever has been pressed. Fill components refill the toilet from the water supply after the toilet tank has been emptied by a flush.

Worn Parts/Corrosion

  • Worn parts, like flappers, allow water to leak down the drain. If a flapper is warped from age or exposure to chlorine bleach, a leak can occur.
  • Tank levers can get corroded and hung up, causing the flapper to not return to its proper location on the drain seat. With the drain uncovered like this the fill valve would continue to run, releasing water in to the tank and bowl. This can lead to a much larger loss of water, especially if this were to happen and everyone left the house for work/school or vacation.

Faulty Installation

  • If the water level is not set correctly in the tank, fill valves can continue to fill the tank to the point where the water flows over the top of the overflow tube on the flush valve.
  • The fill valve refill tube can be improperly attached to the overflow tube leaving the end of the refill line below the water level in the tank. The result can be a siphoning action that pulls water out of the tank and down the overflow tube. This eventually causes the fill valve to turn on and return the water level to its original level.

Incorrect Parts

  • The wrong flapper can allow too much water to be used in a flush, or too little water. When the flapper doesn’t allow enough water to be used in the flush, people are often tempted to hold the lever down or flush twice to clear the bowl.

Older Model Toilets

  • Older toilets (pre-1994) were designed to used 3.5, 5 or 7 gallons per flush (gpf) vs. the current 1.6 gpf Ultra Low Flow Toilet (ULFT) and <1.28 gpf High Efficiency Toilet (HET) units. The older models use more water than necessary to accomplish the same thing – flushing to clear the bowl.

How do I fix it?
Does your flapper need replacing?

If you have a newer toilet model (post 1994 ULFT toilet), start saving water by replacing the flapper with the Universal Water Saving Long Life Toilet Flapper (502).

  1. If your toilet turns on and off even when it hasn’t just been flushed.
  2. If your flapper is warped from age or exposure to in-tank bowl cleaners containing bleach.
  3. If  your current  flapper does not fit correctly over the flush drain seal.
  4. Install if your toilet needs multiple flushes to clear the bowl.

If you have an older toilet that dates back before 1994, consider the 501 flapper.

Got a faulty fill valve?

Replace your current fill valve or ballcock with the Leak Sentry™ Fill Valve or Leak Guard™Fill Valve and prevent the automatic and endless refilling of a leaky toilet tank.

  1. The unique locking device of the Leak Sentry™ or Leak Guard™ Fill Valves will not let the tank refill unless the toilet has been flushed. If the tank is losing water because of a leak at the flapper, the decreasing water level will not trigger the fill valve to turn on and replenish the water, which would normally happen with other fill valve.
  2. The toilet remains operational but forces the user to press the tank lever twice: once to unlock the mechanism to refill the tank, and a second time to initiate the flush. The action of having to press the handle twice notifies the user of the leak before many gallons of water are lost.