Have you ever wondered how much water you waste in a year? Collectively, Americans waste around one trillion gallons of water every year. The average household wastes close to 10,000 gallons annually.
Maybe you don’t live in an area prone to drought and don’t obsess over a few gallons of water slipping through the cracks. The truth is, water is a precious resource—we have access to less than 2% of the earth’s freshwater to use for drinking.
Leak detections play a vital role in helping households conserve water. In today’s post, we’re talking about blue dye tablets. If you suspect a leak in your home, read on, and explore how this simple tablet helps minimize the impact of wasted water.
Those Silent Leaks Will Get You Every Time
If you’ve not noticed random puddles on the floor or experienced a plumbing pipe burst, you might assume you don’t have a problem with leaks. The two main problem areas for wasting water are leaking toilets and dripping faucets.
That said, leaky pipes and water heaters cause a few of their own issues.
Out of all the sources for water leaks we’ve mentioned, only one doesn’t create drama (until it’s too late). A leaky toilet with a silent leak can carry on for days, sometimes weeks, without anyone noticing.
The problem with covert leaks is that by the time you realize you have one, you could have water seeping into floorboards. When that happens, you then not only have a toilet to repair, but a floor to replace.
What Causes a Leaky Toilet
When it comes to toilets, two primary issues cause silent leaks. The most common troublemaker is the flush valve system. Toilets also leak due to fill valve issues.
Let’s take a look at both.
Flush Valve System
If you look at the bottom of your toilet tank, you’ll find the flapper. Also called the flush valve ball, this essential component of a toilet forms a watertight seal unless it’s started to deteriorate.
A worn-out flapper or flush valve ball allows water to leak around it and into the toilet bowl. It might be the most common culprit, but it’s also the most challenging to detect because it causes a silent leak.
You could develop a leaky toilet if you have a broken fill valve. Poor placement of the fill valve also poses a problem.
In the case of fill valves, you could have a shut-off valve that doesn’t close completely. Check your float—if placed too high, you’ll end up with a continuous water flow inside the toilet tank.
Some leaks result in a trickle of water running from the rim into the bowl, but that’s not always the case. It’s not unusual for the toilet to leak without any noise or noticeable water on the floor.
Your toilet might run continuously, or it might only run intermittently. It all hinges on what’s going on inside the tank.
Take a Dive Into the Tank
If you’ve tried removing the tank lid to inspect inside the tank, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.
Inside the tank, you’ll find:
- Refill Tube
Don’t let the inner workings of a toilet intimidate you! You’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all (for the most part). The parts aren’t difficult to find or hard to replace, and in most cases, it’s relatively easy to tell if you have a defective or worn out component.
The silent leaks we’re focusing on in this article aren’t as straightforward as the structure and mechanics of the toilet where they lurk.
Blue Dye Tablets to the Rescue
One of the easiest and most cost-effective tools you can use when you start performing leak detections are dissolvable dye tablets. Leak detection tablets work best when used for leak tests in the flush valve system.
First, remove the lid from the toilet tank. Then remove any colored cleaning agents. You’ll also want to remove any bleaching solution.
Next, flush and clear the water in the bowl. Now add the blue dye tablet. If you have a leak in the toilet, the water will turn blue within 10 – 60 minutes.
Don’t forget to flush so that you remove any remaining blue color. Flush the remaining dye from the tank as soon as the test is complete.
If your toilet tests positive for color, you likely have a silent leak. Whether you’re a homeowner or property manager, leak detection tablets should be a part of your maintenance tool collection.
Do Leak Detection Tablets Work in the Fill Valve System?
The process for finding leaks in the fill valve system, where leaks aren’t as easily detected as they are in the flush valve system. In this system, either a broken fill valve or one that’s not adjusted correctly.
Sometimes an installer will set the float too high. Another reason you could have a leak is that the shut-off valve doesn’t close all the way. At that point, water continues entering the tank and then moving to the overflow tube.
Detecting a leak in this part of your plumbing system isn’t difficult.
When you’re ready, pull the tank top off and observe the water. Is it flowing to the overflow tube once it enters the tank?
Blue Dye Tablets Make Leak Detections Easy
When you’re not 100% certain you have a leak in a toilet, dropping a blue dye tablet in the tank can reveal the presence of a silent leak. The tablets are quick-acting, which means you get the answers you need so that you can either repair the leak or replace the toilet.