Sarah Bowerman is Water Efficiency Analyst at Northumbrian Water Group
About one in 20 toilets leak - and although it doesn’t always affect the quality of the flush, it can potentially waste a lot of water, and money too.
Leaky loos waste an average of 215 litres of water every day, and some waste as much as 400 litres – as much as five baths, or three times as much water as a person usually uses in the UK.
This extra water use not only adds to your bill, but carries with it a hidden carbon footprint from the energy and materials used to transform river and groundwater into clean drinking water and pump it to your home.
So, show your loo some love this Valentine’s Day and take two minutes to check your toilet for leaks.:
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you need to get your toilet checked and fixed by an approved plumber – if your water is supplied by Northumbrian Water, we’ll even do this for free.
In 2023, we repaired over 4000 leaky loos for our customers and are sending our teams out every day.
If you live elsewhere, contact your water company for advice or find your nearest WaterSafe-approved plumber.
And if you’re not sure if the toilet is leaking, you can stick a ‘leaky loo strip’ or piece of toilet paper to the back of the pan and leave it for several hours, or overnight. If the paper is wet or torn – you have a leak.
Aside from leaks, another way to reduce the amount of water you use is to make sure you know the difference between the long and short flush on your dual flush toilet. Using the short flush can save two litres of water each time, which quickly adds up.
These three Ps are the only things you should flush – pee, poo and paper. Please put anything else in the bin and be aware that even ‘flushable’ toilet wipes cause sewage blockages. A blocked sewer can affect lots of people by stopping sewage draining from homes, causing smells and even flooding.
While we’re on the subject of blockages, another common error we see is cooking fat being poured down the drain. It’s easy to forget how quickly it cools and solidifies, but this is another major cause of blocked sewers – especially when the fat hardens around wet wipes and other waste, causing huge fatbergs.
We all need to use our toilet on a daily basis, so please take care of them and love your loo this Valentine’s Day.