Tomorrow may seem like just a normal, ‘bog-standard’ day, but it is in fact ‘Thomas Crapper Day’. (Thursday 27 January)
A celebration of the man who helped make the humble toilet a feature in every household and pioneered the ballcock within the toilet cistern. To mark this day, Northern Ireland Water is asking customers to check their home for a leaky loo.
A toilet which is constantly leaking clean water from the cistern into the pan can waste around 200 to 400 litres of water a day. That’s approximately 2.5 – 5 bath tubs, or enough water for up to 7 loads of washing.
Leaky loos have become a more significant problem recently due to a number of factors; the change in design of toilets to dual flush with non-visible/audible internal overflows, along with more households replacing their water systems to mains-fed bathrooms which increases water pressure.
John Mulgrave, Water Regulations Field Manager at NI Water comments: “The world has changed dramatically since Thomas Crapper was alive, but there are many problems he would recognise immediately.
“One in 20 households have a leaky loo and yet they often go unnoticed. The leak could look minimal, and some people may even think this is a design feature to keep the toilet bowl fresh.
“The worst of leaking toilets can waste up to 8,000 litres a day – which is equivalent to 100 bath tubs! It’s easy enough to check if you have a leak and if you do, it’s easy to repair.”
Would you be able to tell if your toilet is leaking?
How to check if a loo is leaking:
If you can hear a flow of water when the toilet hasn’t been flushed or can see a slight but constant trickle at the back of the toilet pan, you may have a leaky loo.
Wait until 30 minutes after the last flush then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet tissue.
· Place a new, dry sheet of toilet tissue across the back of the pan.
· Leave it in place for up to three hours without using the toilet (it might be best to do this overnight).
· If the paper is wet or torn in the morning, you know you have a leaky loo.
Or, why not order your free LeakyLoo strip and other water saving goodies by visiting www.savewatersavemoney.com and simply entering your postcode.
If you have a leak they normally are pretty straight forward for an approved plumber or keen DIY-er to fix, either by adjusting or replacing the bits inside a cistern with new parts. Make sure the new parts are compliant with the water fittings regulations. To do this, and to search for a watersafe approved plumbing business near you go to www.watersafe.org.uk
There are other simple things you can do around the home to save water:
· Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - A running tap can use 6 litres of water per minute.
· Make full use of your washing machine - Half load programmes on washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load, so wait until the machine is full before switching it on.
· Take shorter showers - Why not challenge yourself and your family to shower one minute quicker? In a year you could save up to 10,000 litres of water!
· Take a shower instead of a bath - One bath can use up to 100 litres of water, whereas an efficient shower uses under 50 litres. But remember power showers can use more water than baths.
· Car washing - Avoid washing cars and vans frequently, use a bucket and sponge
NI Water are encouraging customers to sign up to its free text alert service which keeps them updated about anything that may impact on their water supply or any of our other services in the area. Sign up here www.niwater.com/register-for-keeping-you-informed/