Today on Fix-A-Leak Week, we’re looking at accidental household water wastage in a slightly different way. If you’ve been following our daily posts this week, you’re basically experts yourself on the kind of damage that leaks can cause, both environmentally and fiscally. We’ve been introduced to different types of household leaks and how to manage them. We’ve discovered the impact of our daily usage and undetected leaks on global water supply. We’ve even heard about little Johnny Slaphandle and visualized leaks with some fun (and surprising) comparisons. As we’ve mentioned before, a leaking toilet is one of the leading causes of unintentional water usage in the household. But now, it’s time to talk about the real enemy: a running toilet.

That’s right! That innocent-looking toilet sitting right in your bathroom can do even more damage than we’ve discussed. To put it into perspective, the average leaking toilet wastes around 200 gallons a day. The average running toilet can waste – wait for it! – 200 gallons in a single hour. Don’t believe us?

Let’s investigate the math.

According to Water Management Inc., if we’re dealing with a standard 1.5-gallon toilet that refills in about 30 seconds, each minute opens the gates for at least 3 gallons. Here at nth Solutions, after years of experimental testing and experience, we believe that number is actually closer to 5 gallons a minute. Nonetheless, even the minimal 3 gallons can do the trick: at least 180 gallons an hour means more than 4300 gallons in a day.

And we can even consider the extremes for a second. What if the toilet in question was in that one extra household bathroom in the deep corner of your house that only gets used once in a blue moon, or in this case – once in a month? Listen folks, we know it’s hard to believe – but let’s face it: all catastrophes usually are. And with this hypothetical catastrophe? You could waste almost 130,000 gallons in one month, enough to fill a water tank with a 30-foot diameter and a 25-foot height.

We may have gotten ahead of ourselves, but it’s something to consider. Either way, let’s take a step back from the extreme and answer a very valid question. How does this even happen? A running toilet occurs when the flapper in the tank stays wide open, as opposed to a leaking toilet, in which the flapper is either decaying or only partially closed. To help understand just how those circumstances can occur, we’ve outlined 7 reasons how the flapper in the toilet tank might not close properly.

Now, although you know how the nightmare of a running toilet can start, there’s still a whole other side that leads to the overall problem: how can it possibly go unnoticed for so long? It may seem unbelievable to think that you wouldn’t detect an open flood of water freely flowing through your toilet within the first few minutes, but once again circumstances can be surprising!

Here are a few reasons why a wide-open flapper could go undetected for a long time:

Imagine picking up 4320 gallon-jugs of water from the store and pouring them down the toilet, one at a time. Well, your toilet can do the equivalent with much more ease in little time! And while that kind of water waste may be unfathomable coming from such a small-sized culprit, we’ve shown that it most definitely is possible. So, if there’s one thing we learned with our investigation today, it’s that assumptions aren’t always true when it comes to the damage that a running toilet can do.