Plumber demonstrates simple toilet test that could save you hundreds of dollars: ‘My water bill was sky high’

A plumber posted a simple, do-it-yourself trick on TikTok to identify a common issue in noisy toilets — and all you need is simple dye or food coloring.

The scoop

TikTok user Don (@DonThePlumber817) uploaded a video troubleshooting a client’s toilet, which had been making intermittent filling sounds.

“For it to make that sound, it has to be having a loss of water,” he says.

Generally, a hissing or noisy toilet is indicative of a leaky flapper in the tank, which is letting water leak down into the bowl below — but Don wanted to be sure.

First, he replaces the existing flapper with a new one. Then, to test it, he puts a tablet of blue dye in the tank, waits an hour, and checks to see if any of the dye has leaked down into the bowl. Fortunately, the bowl was clean, and the new flapper was doing its job.

“Just a simple defect in the flapper that came with the part,” he says. “And this is a great way to do water audits to check your toilets and see if they’re in need of any type of flapper.”

He also recommends that, for anyone who doesn’t have dye tablets, food coloring also works for this test. “I’d use blue, something very visible,” he recommends.

How it’s helping

Toilet leaks aren’t just noisy and annoying — an average leaky toilet wastes over 6,000 gallons of water a month. This can easily add up and cost homeowners upwards of $150 per month in water bills. And while some leaks, like a dripping faucet, can be repurposed, this is simply a waste.

Fixing a toilet flapper leak will “help you not waste any water and conserve,” Don explains. And for a problem that can be fixed at home — flappers are generally $15 and under at stores like Lowe’s — it’s best to address this issue as soon as you notice it to prevent more water from being wasted.

While you’re at it, you can make some other bathroom upgrades, like installing a bidet, switching to sustainable toilet paper, or switching to bar soap, that will save you money and make your bathroom less wasteful. Win-win!

What everyone’s saying

Commenters were pleased with Don’s advice, and some had already used it with success.

“I had to replace both toilet flappers,” one person commented. “My water bill was sky high. Leaking 1/2 gal a minute. Crazy.”

“Nice, thank you sir,” another wrote. “Good tip.”

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