Sadly, that water trickling into your toilet bowl isn’t a cool design feature to help keep it clean! If your loo is constantly dribbling, it’s probably leaky. The good news is you can get it fixed to save yourself water and money. Here’s how… What’s a leaky loo? A leaky loo usually refers to clean water leaking from your toilet tank into your toilet bowl. If you have one, you may notice a steady trickle of water at the back of the bowl or hear a constant dripping sound inside the tank. But sometimes, you may not notice anything at all. Leaky loos are easy to miss, so it’s no wonder around one in 10 households and most businesses have one they haven’t fixed yet. Why fix a leaky loo? A little dribble may seem like nothing, but don’t be fooled. If you’re on a metered bill, a leaky loo can be really expensive. In some cases, it could more than double your water bill. Yikes! Even if you’re not on a metered bill yet, the average leaky loo wastes as much as 400 litres of water every single day. That’s the equivalent of five full bathtubs and probably more a family of four would normally use washing, cooking, cleaning, drinking, watering your plants and flushing the loo combined. We’ve even found leaky-loos that are wasting over 8,000 litres a day! How do I check my loos? It’s really easy to check whether you have a leaky loo. Just: Wait for 30 minutes after flushing and then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet paper. Place a new, dry sheet of toilet paper on the back of the pan. Leave it there for up to three hours without using the toilet (it might be best to do this overnight). If the paper is wet or torn, you have a leaky loo. An average leaky-loo of 400 litres a day will completely wet the toilet paper sheet immediately. What’s the cause? Leaky loos are usually caused by a faulty flush valve or fill valve inside your tank. To check your flush valve, mark the water level inside your tank and pop back 10 minutes later. If the water level has dropped, you’ll know the flush valve is the problem. If not, the fill valve may be responsible for the leak. If you can, look to see if any water is running into the overflow tube inside your toilet tank. If your tank takes a long time to refill or your flush isn’t as powerful as normal, that could also be a sign your fill valve isn’t working properly. How do I fix my leaky loo? If you’re pretty handy, you can find instructions for replacing your flush or fill valve online. If you have home plumbing and drainage cover, such as HomeServe, please give them a call. Alternatively, you can find a plumber to pop out and fix the problem for you. If you have a smart water meter, a leaky loo could cost you as much as £300 a year. Why not book a free Smarter Home Visit from our team of experts now? As well as fixing your leaky loos for free, we can: Fit free water-saving gadgets around your home Share expert advice on how to save money and energy Show you how to make the most of your smart meter Give you a free benefits entitlement check and debt advice Got more questions for us? Sign up for community now and share them in the comments below!
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We don’t blame you if your first thought is ‘my tap’. Whether you’re popping on the kettle or hopping in the shower, it’s easy to take for granted that water’s always right there when you need it.
But every drop of water embarks on its own journey before it flows through your pipes. This journey could take billions of years, meaning your humble glass of water could be older than you, the dinosaurs or even the Sun.
In fact, scientists reckon that as much as 50% of the water on earth could have come from interstellar space before the Sun burst into being.
That’s pretty mind-blowing, if you ask us.
Are you ready to channel your inner raindrop, and join water on its wild and wonderful journey from the edge of the atmosphere to the depths of the earth? Read on…
Raindrops are falling on your head
Heat from the Sun causes water to evaporate from our rivers and oceans, rising upwards as water vapour. Clouds form in the sky when this rising air cools down quickly, causing water vapour molecules to clump together.
While these clouds look light and fluffy, they’re actually made up of billions of tiny water droplets.
Scientists reckon some could weigh as much as 100 million tonnes – that’s the equivalent of around 40 million elephants hanging out above your head.
When the water droplets get too heavy, they start falling to the ground, and we start reaching for our umbrellas and our wellies, ready to splash our way to work.
It sometimes feels like it’s always raining in the UK, but maybe that’s because we Brits love to talk about the weather. We do have a variable climate, which means our weather can be unpredictable (and it’s getting more and more unpredictable every year).
But did you know London actually gets less annual rainfall than Sydney, the land of sunshine, surfing, and shrimps on the barbie? We get a lot of grey days, but grey doesn’t always mean rain. It’s no wonder that every drop we get is so essential.
Going with the flow
Rain isn’t just for singing in – it’s for drinking, washing and flushing loos, too! As it falls from the sky, some flows into our rivers and some seeps deep into the ground then flows back out into our rivers, before we pump it out of rivers and the ground to clean it.
If you live in London, around 80% of the water you drink actually comes directly from rivers, while in the rest of the Thames Valley around 30% is from rivers, with the rest coming from natural underground sources we call aquifers.
Most of our rivers are also supplied by these aquifers, making groundwater our number one water source. When it’s colder outside, the ground stays wet longer and more water soaks into the aquifers beneath.
This means we rely on winter rain the most, as in the summer most rainfall is used by plants or evaporates straight away.
The fact that we take all of our water from natural sources is a good thing. If you were to dig deep around much of our area, you’d find lots of soft chalky limestone rocks.
When rain seeps through this rock, it acts as a natural filter and adds traces of natural, healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium, making our water hard and giving it its own distinctive great taste. Not only that, but some studies suggest that the magnesium in hard water could even be good for your heart health – who knew?
Of course, we can only pump a certain amount of water out of our rivers and aquifers. To care for the environment and local water sources, we also need to make sure there’s still enough left for local wildlife and plants to thrive.
From the planet to your pipes
Turning on your tap takes less than a second, but the natural process behind it can take thousands of years. In the grand scheme of the water cycle, we’re just a drop in the ocean (pun intended).
With that being said, our role is an essential one because we make sure your water’s safe to drink. We do this by properly cleaning everything we pump out of local rivers and aquifers.
We then supply more than 2.6 billion litres of this water to homes like yours every day. It’s our job to make sure that your water flows straight out of your taps, clean and fresh.
Not only do we use up to 10 different filtering methods to do this, we also test the water at every stage of the treatment process, producing a staggering 2.5 million test results each year. This means our water is actually some of the highest quality tap water in the world.
After that, we pump the water straight into our complex network of pipes and storage reservoirs, which spans over 20,000 miles, under every road. Then it’s not seen again until you turn on your tap.
From that point on, any water that you pour down your plughole is filtered and cleaned by us, and then safely pumped back into local rivers. And the cycle begins again…
Why is water’s journey so important?
By 2050, there’ll be an extra two million people living in London and the Thames Valley. If we keep using water like we are today, we’ll need an extra 250 million litres of water a day to meet demand in our area.
That’s a scary figure because:
We can’t ask the clouds to make more rain.
We can’t take more water from our local rivers without damaging the environment.
We can’t know for sure what the future holds for our planet.
Our water may have been around for billions of years, but we need to care for it if we want it to last for billions more to come.
The good news is that we can all help to look after every drop.
To find out more about caring for water, please visit our Be water smart page.
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