Save Water (and Money) at Work
Mark your calendars for the EPA’s annual Fix a Leak Week, March 14–20, and check for leaks at your workplace. Common leaks to look for include dripping faucets and hose bibs. Some of the largest leaks occur when toilets or equipment such as water-cooled ice machines and cooling towers malfunction, wasting thousands of gallons of water. Often these go unnoticed because the extra water goes down the drain instead of causing water damage or disruption.
Did you know? Leaks can account for more than six percent of water use in a commercial building . Even a single toilet leak can waste hundreds or thousands of gallons each day! And while some leaks may be small, they can add up quickly in sewer, water, and energy bill costs.
Are your toilets running?
Tank-type toilets: Ask maintenance staff to dye test toilets to find small leaks from worn flapper valves, make sure the water level in the tank is below the overflow tube, and check flapper chains for proper adjustment. Note that toilet leaks are often intermittent, so it’s important to ensure all components are in good condition and properly adjusted. For more tips on diagnosing a leaky toilet, check out our guide to troubleshooting toilet leaks. And if older toilets will be replaced instead of repaired, apply for a $50 rebate on new WaterSense-labeled toilets.
Commercial toilets and urinals: Also called flushometer-valve toilets, these reliable toilets can still leak. Check if commercial toilets are wasting water by doing a timed test flush. Using a stopwatch, count the seconds it takes to complete one flush cycle (not counting the trickle of water at the end).
- Toilets installed 1997 or later: flush should not take longer than four to five seconds when functioning properly.
- Toilets installed before 1997: flush time can be eight seconds or longer, even when functioning properly. If replacing old toilets with WaterSense-labeled toilets, consider applying for a rebate.
Automatic flush sensors: If commercial toilets flush automatically, check and adjust flush sensors regularly to avoid double flushing or continuously running water.