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Running Toilet Water Usage: A Common High Water Bill Problem

Updated: Jul 2

One important but often ignored problem in property water usage is a toilet that keeps running. It may seem small, but in the long run, a toilet that doesn't stop running can skyrocket your water bills.

In this article, we will look closely at how much water a running toilet uses, how it works, and how it affects things. We will also talk about ways to fix it and the best way to track it, keeping in mind the need to save water and money.

How Toilet Tanks Work

To understand running toilet water usage, one must first grasp the basic mechanics of a toilet's water system. A toilet typically operates using a simple yet effective mechanism. When the flush is activated, water from the tank rushes into the bowl, facilitating waste removal.

Post-flushing, the tank refills, preparing the toilet for its next use. This system relies heavily on a balance of valves, floats, and seals to function correctly. A disruption in this balance, such as a faulty flapper or an imbalanced float, can lead to continuous water flow or what is commonly referred to as a running toilet.

Instances of the Toilet Running Randomly

Random running of a toilet is a common household issue. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, including a misaligned flapper, a leak in the tank, or a malfunctioning fill valve. If you notice that your toilet is running randomly, make sure to have a professional check it.

These instances not only cause annoyance but also lead to a significant increase in water usage. A constantly running toilet can waste literally thousands of gallons of water daily, thereby exacerbating water scarcity issues and increasing household water bills.

Automatic Flushing vs Manual Flushing: Which Saves More?

The debate between automatic flushing and manual flushing toilets centers around water conservation and hygiene. Automatic toilets, equipped with motion sensors, eliminate the need for physical contact, thereby promoting hygiene.

However, they are often criticized for unnecessary flushes, which can lead to increased water usage. Manual flushing toilets, on the other hand, offer more control over water usage but require physical contact, which can be a hygiene concern in public restrooms.

How Much Water is Used When Flushing?

Old toilets use 2 to 2.5 gallons per flush, while new ones use 1.1 to 1.8 gallons per flush.

This means an automatic reduction in your water bills each month, and over a full year, the savings can add up to be tremendous. So, as a property owner, make sure to choose the best toilet model for your units.

How Much Water Does a Running Toilet Use Per Hour?

A running toilet could use 100 gallons of water per hour or more. Over the course of a day, this amounts to approximately 2,400 gallons or more. In comparison, a standard toilet uses about 2.38 gallons of water per flush. 

plumber fixing a toilet

How to Take Care and Maintain a Toilet Bowl

If you're a property owner and want to lower the numbers above to avoid high water bills and save more, you can follow these strategic repairs below

  • Emphasize Proper Maintenance and Care: Essential for preventing running toilet water usage.

  • Conduct Regular Leak Checks: Regularly inspect for leaks to identify issues early.

  • Ensure Proper Flapper Seal: Check that the toilet flapper is sealing correctly to avoid unnecessary water flow.

  • Monitor Float Position: Adjust and maintain the float to ensure correct water levels in the tank.

  • Install Water-Efficient Components: Use low-flow flappers and dual-flush systems to minimize water use.

  • Detect Silent Leaks with Food Coloring: Place food coloring in the tank to check for leaks that are not easily visible.

  • Early Detection and Repair: Address issues promptly to conserve water and lower utility bills.

Avoid a Leaky Toilet By Doing These Regular Inspections

When should you change toilets to avoid running toilet water problems? Here are a few tips:

Frequent Clogging

Frequent clogging in a toilet often points to underlying structural problems or an outdated design. If your toilet gets clogged regularly, it might be time to check for deeper issues.

Cracks in the Porcelain

Cracks in the porcelain of your toilet, whether in the bowl or tank, are a serious concern. These cracks can lead to water leaks and potentially cause water damage in your bathroom.

Constant Running Water

If your toilet continues to run non-stop, even after attempting repairs, it could be a sign that it needs to be replaced. A constantly running toilet is not only annoying but also wasteful.

Inefficient Flushing

When you have to flush your toilet multiple times to clear the bowl, it's a clear indication of inefficiency. This not only wastes water but also shows that your toilet isn't performing as it should.

Surface Damage

Surface damage like scratches or worn areas on your toilet can make it hard to clean and might allow bacteria to build up. Over time, these damages can affect the hygiene of your bathroom.

Leakage Around the Base

Water leaking around the base of your toilet usually suggests there's a problem with the seal or there might be a crack. This kind of leakage can lead to floor damage if not addressed promptly.

Outdated Model

If your toilet is more than 10-15 years old, it probably lacks modern water-saving features. Older models are less efficient, which can impact both the environment and your utility bills.

High Water Bills

A sudden increase in your water bills could be a sign of an inefficient toilet. If there's no obvious reason for the rise in water usage, your toilet might be the culprit.

Unstable Toilet

An unstable toilet that moves or rocks when you use it is not just uncomfortable, but also unsafe. This instability often points to faulty installation or a deteriorated base.

Visible Wear and Tear

Over time, visible wear and tear on your toilet can affect both its performance and appearance. General deterioration is a natural sign that it might be time for an upgrade.

Incompatibility with Parts

Finding replacement parts for repairs can become a challenge if you have an outdated toilet model. Incompatibility with newer parts often means more hassle and expense in maintaining an older toilet.

DrizzleX's Micrometering Device: Say Goodbye to Running Toilet Water

As a property owner, do you have the time to do all of those mentioned above? Does it sound complicated? Do you have the time to troubleshoot all your toilets from your property? If you want the easiest solution for running toilet water, having a submetering system is the key.

DrizzleX's Micrometer Device offers a smart solution to tackle the issue of running toilet water. This service works by installing specialized micrometers that closely monitor water usage on each fixture in a property. DrizzleX micrometers are easily installed directly on the fixture in minutes, so it works well even in buildings with riser plumbing that don’t have individual water mains for each apartment unit. 

These meters can detect unusual water flows, like those from a running toilet, alerting property owners to potential issues. By pinpointing exactly where and how water is being wasted, DrizzleX helps property owners identify and fix problems swiftly, ensuring water is used efficiently. 

This saves water and reduces utility bills, making it a practical choice for property owners looking to manage water usage effectively and sustainably without going through any hassle, saving them their time.

How DrizzleX Can Help You

DrizzleX home page

DrizzleX allows you to detect hidden leaks, such as running toilets and leaky faucets, to stop millions of gallons of waste each year. It also alerts you to excessive water overuse by tenants. Typically, buildings that use DrizzleX reduce their water bills by 25-45% or more. And you can expect a pretty quick return on investment (ROI). Buildings with DrizzleX save enough water to cover the entire cost of DrizzleX within about 9 months on average.

Usage Alerts

One of Drizzlex's solutions is usage alerts. Since many people aren't really aware of their excessive water usage, the alerts can be very helpful. With this system, you can communicate with your tenants about their water consumption habits, and back it up with precise data too.

Leak Detection

Leaks can be sneaky because they aren't always visible. With property inspection, you can see the obvious ones. But, silent leaks will only show up on your utility bills. DrizzleX gives you water control because you can monitor the water flow in your building.

The system will notify you about where and how much water is being lost.

E-mail Notifications

Once DrizzleX spots the leak, it will notify you via email. The message you receive will include all the details about the exact apartment and fixture that is the culprit, how many gallons were used, how much it will cost you if the problem isn't fixed, and even possible causes for the water waste and how to fix it.


DrizzleX also allows you to bill your tenants. Tenants conserve water when they are the ones paying for it. You can easily create water bills based on accurate water consumption and bill them fairly.

Running Toilet Water Usage: Key Takeaways

The issue of running toilet water usage is more than just a minor inconvenience; it is a matter of environmental and economic importance. Understanding the mechanics of toilet water systems, recognizing the signs of a running toilet, and adopting water-saving practices are essential steps in addressing this issue. 

By making informed choices about toilet types, maintenance, and when to upgrade, property owners can play an important role in conserving water, protecting the environment, and reducing their water bills.

FAQs About Running Toilet Water Usage

What causes a running toilet, and how can it impact my water bill?

A running toilet, often due to a leaky flapper valve or a faulty fill valve, can significantly increase your water bill. Continuous water flow from the toilet tank to the bowl wastes gallons of water, leading to higher costs.

How much water does a running toilet use per hour, and how does it affect my water usage?

A running toilet can use about 57.06 gallons of water per hour. This excessive water usage contributes to a substantial increase in your water meter readings and, consequently, your water bills.

What are some signs of a running toilet that I should be aware of?

Signs include the sound of water running constantly, the toilet tank refilling without being flushed, and water leaking from the tank to the bowl. These indicate a potential leak that needs fixing.

Can a running toilet lead to water damage in my house?

Yes, a running toilet can cause water damage, especially if there's leakage around the base, leading to issues like mold on the floor around the toilet.

How can I prevent running toilet water usage on my property?

Regular inspections for leaks, ensuring a proper flapper seal, monitoring the water level, and installing water-efficient components like dual-flush systems can prevent running toilets and save water.



installation of a micrometer underneath the kitchen sink

Take control of your water usage and save money with our submetering system.

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