Hey folks! So far on Fix-A-Leak Week, we’ve looked at leaks and water wastage on a larger scale: the environment. But how can a single household leak affect what’s closer to home: your monthly water bill?

Well, let me tell you about the tragic tale of 6-year-old “Johnny Slaphandle,” the youngest member of the family. His parents remind him to make sure you use the bathroom before you get in the car, and Johnny, eager for the exciting vacation that awaits his family, quickly uses the bathroom, slaps the handle to flush, and runs out into the car. And off they go, for two weeks! But what the family isn’t aware of, is that Johnny’s “slap-handle” flush caused the flapper chain in the tank to hang up, and stay up, throughout those 14 days – wasting 6500 gallons of water per day!


It only gets worse. When the family returns home from its vacation, little Johnny is the first to sprint to the bathroom. He slaps the handle again – but this time, the flapper closes properly. Great, right? Well, maybe. True, the toilet now appears to be working correctly, but this means that no one was ever aware of the running toilet!


So, when the water bill comes at the end of the month, the parents are shocked. How could it possibly be hundreds of dollars higher than normal? No one was even in the house for two weeks! Dad checks for a leak with dye tabs: nothing. The plumber comes in, ready to repair, but there isn’t an issue to identify. Mom calls the water company believing that “the meter must be broken.” So, the water company performs a water audit: nothing. The family may not have technically used it, but they will still have to pay for every gallon of water that entered and exited their home.


How could this have been prevented? We – especially little Johnny! – can’t always tell when our toilet is wasting water. It doesn’t have to be a running toilet with a wide-open flapper, either. Leaking toilets, caused by faulty, old, or simply decaying flappers, can have a similar effect on your bank account over a longer period of time. In any case, toilet mishaps are the number one cause of wasted water in the home. If Johnny Slaphandle continues to stay true to his name, the family’s going to need a viable long-term solution for this dilemma.


So, Mom went onto the internet and began to search for one, typing in “toilet leak detection.” And pretty soon, she found the LeakAlertor®. The LeakAlertor is a smart device that electronically monitors your toilets for leaks, wide-open flappers, and other water wasting problems. In 30 seconds, Johnny’s family was able to install the LeakAlertor, and while the water company takes note of their every move, LeakAlertor does too – it just lets them know a lot faster.


In fact, LeakAlertor alerts you both visually and audibly before you leave the bathroom, so even little Johnny is able to notice the alert and go tell mom and dad something’s wrong with the toilet. With LeakAlertor, Johnny’s family now goes on vacation safe from worrying about returning to a nightmare of a water bill.


There’s nothing like a happy ending!

Dye Tablets

5 Reasons why dye tablets are not accurate:

The LeakAlertor takes away the frustration of high water bills, and saves you money! Unlike dye tablets, the LeakAlertor is constantly at work checking for silent leaks, wide-open flappers, and faulty fill valves. It alerts you before you leave the bathroom with a “beep” and blinking LED during the flush cycle.

1) Errors are made in using dye tablets.
Often times, dye tablets are used incorrectly. Some people have mistakenly put the tablet in the toilet bowl rather than the toilet tank…test ruined! Some have put the tablet in the tank, and flushed the toilet immediately…test ruined! Some people drop the tablet in the tank, but then walk away and forget…again, test ruined!

2) Not all toilet leaks are caught by dye tablets.
Dye tablets can only detect one type of leak – a leaking flapper – and only if it’s leaking at the time of the test. However, stuck flush valves, wide-open flappers, phantom flushes, and running toilets are all common leaks not detected by dye tablets.

3) By the time you use a dye tablet your toilet may have already been leaking for weeks, or even months.
Often times, homeowners don’t realize a toilet is leaking because they think a leak should mean there is water on the floor. However, the most common leaks occur either at the flapper, or where the tank and bowl connect. These leaks occur inside the toilet, and are almost always invisible.

4) Intermittent leaks are often missed by dye tablets.
Just because your toilet isn’t leaking at the moment of testing doesn’t mean it wasn’t leaking an hour ago, or won’t be leaking an hour from now. Also, when a flapper first begins to leak, the amount may be too small for dye tablets to detect.

5) It’s not easy to get dye tablets.
Few hardware stores actually sell them, and it’s a hassle to contact your water utility for free tablets. You can buy them on-line, but you have to pay for shipping and wait for them to arrive. Meanwhile, your toilet continues to leak, and your water bill gets even higher!

7 Reasons why the flapper/flush-valve won't close:

1)  The flapper is “stuck” to the overflow pipe.
One observable symptom: it is not bobbing or floating in the water, regardless of the water height, and appears to be partially or fully upright.

2)  The chain is tangled.
A chain link can get stuck on the metal clip or loop over the top of the lever arm. Although an improper chain length causes many of these problems, “slapping” the flush handle can also cause the chain to hang up.

3)  A clogged drain/obstructed pipe produces back pressure through the flush valve seat.
The obstruction doesn’t allow the water level inside the tank to drop low enough for the flapper to seat properly. In this instance, the flapper appears to “hover” in the water above the flush valve seat. A clogged or obstructed drain pipe is the most common reason for toilets to overflow the bowl.

4)  A “universal” replacement flapper is purchased.
When a “universal” replacement flapper is purchased, it does not seat properly on the flush valve. Flappers should be purchased according to the type of flush valve used because universal flappers can leak and/or fail to seat up to 50% of the time.

5)  The flush handle/lever is old, defective, or “sticking” to the inside of the toilet tank.
Old or defective equipment can result in the flapper being held open.

6)  The flapper hinges are weakened and/or degraded.
This allows the flapper to slide to the side and not seat properly on the flush valve. (Note: the water flow from the fill valve can also push the flapper to one side if it is above 60 PSI.)

7)  A flapper’s buoyancy doesn’t become “negative” until the tank completely evacuates.
This does not allow the flapper to seat properly. Although there are several known causes (including toilet design), the most common is a clogged or obstructed drain pipe, which creates back pressure into the tank through the flush valve.

5 Common reasons why wide-open flappers often go undetected:

1)  No one is home to hear it running.
Often times, a person will use the bathroom before they leave their home (or business). In this case, a wide-open flapper would not be detected until the person returned home and realized the problem. This could be hours, or even the following day.

2)  The bathroom is not used frequently.
A wide-open flapper in secondary bathrooms (a finished basement or guest bathroom) can go undetected for days or weeks, wasting a tremendous amount of water and resulting in a high water bill.

3)  Hearing impaired/challenged people may fail to recognize a problem exists.
People with moderate to severe hearing loss may be unable to hear the running water. People afflicted with tinnitus may be unable to distinguish the sound of the running water from their tinnitus.

4)  The sound of the toilet tank refilling is a muted hum.
The initial flush of a toilet is loud, brief, and occurs while the user is still in the bathroom. However, the refilling of the toilet is quieter, prolonged, and typically finishes after the user has left the bathroom. Therefore, the user is unaware when the flapper remains wide-open.

5)  Background noise can easily mask the sound of a wide-open flapper or flush valve.
Examples include central air conditioners and HVAC systems (while the fan is operating); ceiling and window fans; music and/or TV; etc.