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Spotting and Fixing a Leaky Loo

How Much Water Could you Save?

As we learn more about the consequences that water scarcity is having on our environment and understand the impact for the future, it is increasingly important to educate ourselves on water saving opportunities and choices. In addition, with more consumers paying for water based on usage, saving water impacts budgets and ensures lower bills. So, how can we spot a leaky loo and how much water could we save by fixing one?

The installation of water saving flush and fill valves in a toilet cistern can ensure maximum water efficiency; saving water as well as putting less strain on water resources and decreasing environmental impact.

How Much Water is Wasted by Leaky Loos?

Flushing the toilet uses approximately one third of the water in the home and in commercial premises the toilet is often the primary source of water consumption. With this in mind, ensuring that toilets function efficiently and are free from leaks is of prime importance.

According to stats published by Waterwise, ‘A leaky loo wastes between 200 and 400 litres of water per day – that’s a jaw dropping 72,000 to 146,000 litres of water wasted every year – from just one leaking toilet.’

Waterwise estimates that between 5% and 8% of toilets are leaking, but with a leaky loo sometimes difficult to spot with the naked eye, what is the best way to identify and remedy internal water loss from your toilet?

What is a Leaky Loo?

Water running from the cistern, into the toilet pan when the flush is not being activated, can be the cause of an unusually high water bill. This internal water loss is often referred to as a ‘leaky loo.’

Like all mechanical equipment, flush and fill valves require occasional maintenance and sometimes repair or replacement to help ensure the water efficiency of the toilet. There can be numerous issues which can cause a leaky loo. For instance, the build-up of limescale or dirt can inhibit valves opening and closing properly, creating internal leaks within the toilet.

The good news is that it’s easy to identify a leaky loo and the even better news is that fixing one usually takes just a few minutes.

Identifying a Leaky Loo

Method One

There are several ways to check if a loo is leaky.

Our first suggestion is to flush the toilet and wait for the cistern to fully finish the flush. Once you are confident the flush is complete, take a bottle of food colouring and add several drops to your cistern (a darker colour like blue will show up best).

Leave the toilet for 60 minutes and when you return, if the water is tinged with food colouring, which has run from the cistern into the toilet pan, this is evidence of a leak.

Method Two

Alternatively, if the toilet has a concealed cistern that cannot be accessed easily, it is still possible to check for an internal leak.

Take some clean, dry toilet paper and use it to dry the back of the toilet pan thoroughly. Leave the toilet for 30-60 minutes without flushing. On returning, use some more toilet paper to wipe the back of the toilet pan.

If the back of the toilet pan has become wet without flushing, then there is water leaking from the cistern into the pan.

What to do if you Have a Leaky Loo

Once a leaky loo is identified, it’s important to find the root cause of the leak. There are a number of issues which may be causing the problem; usually associated with the flush or fill valve in your toilet cistern.

For help diagnosing where the water is leaking from, refer to our Little Toilet Repair Guide, which can be downloaded for free.

Some leaks can be remedied through routine maintenance and cleaning, and others may require repair or replacement of parts.

Replacement toilet cistern valves are readily available from local retailers, DIY stores or builders’ merchants.

A local plumber or maintenance company will be able to diagnose and repair most leaky loo issues quickly and easily.

Selecting Long Lasting Flush and Fill Valves

For the ultimate water saving combination, our Fluidmaster dual flush valve, or Ultra Dual Flush Syphon can be paired with our water saving AirGap 6000 fill valve.

Upgrading to a dual-flush toilet could save 12,500 litres per person, per year. That is equivalent to 150 average-sized baths! Dual flush toilets typically use 4-6 litres of water, as opposed to old-style flush systems which can use a massive 13 litres per flush. The flush volumes on our dual flush valves can be adjusted to enable maximum water efficiency.

If you have a lever action flush, opting for a dual flush syphon is a great solution for leak prevention. Our Ultra Syphon is a compact size, ensuring that it will be suitable for most 1 ½” lever operated cisterns. It is also quick and easy to install and features light touch activation and flush volume adjustability to ensure water saving.

In addition, our AirGap 6000 cistern fill valve can offer extra savings of up to one litre per flush. Bearing in mind that the average person flushes the loo five times a day and, in the UK, the average household has 2.5 occupants, which equates to extra savings of over 4,500 litres of water from installation of a water saving AirGap 6000 fill valve.

Check out our popular flush and fill valve combinations, which offer high performance coupled with superior quality, to ensure that you can make maximum water savings every time you flush your toilet.

If you are working on a current washroom or large build project and would like to discuss your toilet or urinal requirements, email salesuk@fluidmaster.com and a member of the team will be in touch.