No. 1 Cause of a High Water Bill and How to Fix a Running Toilet

A running toilet may be costing you a lot of money, without you even realizing it. It’s one of the worst culprits in terms of water waste, and can really do some damage to your water bill. In fact, a toilet, depending on the leak, can cost between $1,000 or $2,000, annually. It’s definitely an issue you’ll want to take care of as quickly as possible.

High Water Bill

Running Toilet

Along with wasting a ton of water, a running toilet is also costing you a lot of money. Here are two ways to determine if it’s running:

  • Dye Test: Using a dye tablet or food coloring, remove the lid from the tank on your toilet, and put in a tablet or a few drops of food coloring. Wait 15-20 minutes, and see if there is any dye in the toilet bowl. If you see the dye in the bowl, it means you have a leaky toilet. 
  • Sound: This may be obvious, but if you hear a “hissing” sound coming from your toilet, it means you probably have a leak. If you have a stuck flapper, it’ll sound like a constant stream of running water. Flappers can become brittle and break down as they age, and form a poor seal in your tank. 


Once you’ve determined that you have a leak, it’s time to inspect the inner-workings of your toilet. You’ll want to inspect the fill and flush valves. The fill valve is attached to the incoming water line, and is equipped with a float that signals the water line to shut off as the tank is filled. The flush valve is positioned in the center of the tank, and allows water to exit the tank when flushed. 

When the tank is flushed, the flapper is raised, allowing the water to flow through the flush valve and into the bowl, clearing out the waste. Any issues with these components can lead to a leaky toilet. 

Too Much Water: Water overfilling the tank could put water into the flush tube after it’s filled, creating issues. The water should stop running when it’s half an inch to an inch below the flush tube. If the water is going higher than that, you’ll have to adjust the amount of water coming into the tank through the float on the fill valve. Essentially, if you raise the float, the water level goes up. If you lower the float, it goes down. 

Fill Valves: If you’ve considered the above, and still haven’t found the issue, it could be the fill valve. This repair can be done for around $50, if you’re a competent do-it-yourselfer.

Other Causes of High Water Bills

Once your toilet is fixed, it may be worth looking around, and seeing what other areas may be costing you money in terms of water leaks. For instance, a leaky faucet could potentially waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. Add that to a leaky toilet, and it’s a lot of wasted money. 

If you’ve been unsuccessful in figuring out why you have a leaky toilet – call the licensed professionals at Pratt Plumbing. Schedule an appointment today at (806) 373-7866.

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