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How to Tell If Your Toilet Is Leaking

A little food coloring can help you save big bucks

File this under “Mindlessly Easy Ways to Save Money”: Check for toilet leaks. That’s it.

Fixing all those drippy leaks around your house can save you as much as 10 percent on your water bill. That means you could totally afford to splurge on that vintage mirror you’ve been eyeing.

Ready to stop the drops? Start by checking one of the more common leak culprits: your toilet. A pool of water around your throne is an obvious sign of leakage, but it’s not the only one. If you hear the toilet running constantly, you already know there’s a problem — likely an old or faulty toilet flapper. Many other leaks are silent and more difficult to detect. But you can find that leak. Yes, you can. All you need is food coloring and 15 minutes.

How to Check Your Toilet for a Leak:

1. Add some color. Remove the toilet tank’s lid, and set it somewhere flat so it won’t crack. Squeeze 10 drops of food coloring (drops, not gel!) into the tank.

2. Be patient. Wait 15 minutes. No peeking.

3. Lift the seat lid. Look in the bowl. Do you see dye? Then you’ve got a leak! Flush immediately (don’t leave the dye sitting in there!) and fix your leak. Don’t know how? Follow our step-by-step guide.

If the toilet is beyond repair, consider replacing it with a new WaterSense-labeled version. It’ll save you 13,000 gallons each year, otherwise known as money off your water bill.