You don't need to be a plumber to fix a leaking toilet.

Unused sealant ring, and aging flapper.

Unused sealant ring, and aging flapper.

A running toilet is definitely one of the worst forms of water waste! Not only are we turning good drinking water into a waste product, but now we are letting it drain into the toilet bowl needlessly. One client the other day told me that when the City came to do a water survey, they figured out she wasted $300+ in a month on a running toilet.

The U.S. EPA estimates that more than one trillion gallons of water are lost through household leaks every year (that’s an 11,000 gallon per year average for every American family) and while the municipality is no longer on the hook for any financial ties to that water, it represents the senseless loss of a precious resource and very real financial impact for the households that the municipality depends on.
— Peter Chawaga, Water Online.

So when in the middle of the night the toilet tank starts filling for no reason, it wakes me out of the deepest sleep and sets my teeth on edge.

Today, I went to Home Depot, looked in the toilet repair section, read the brief info there and picked a couple standard parts: a toilet sealant ring and a flapper assembly. From what I had seen of the situation, I eliminated a couple of the more extravagant options.

10 minutes after I began, I was done! And to test it, I dropped in a nifty blue dye tablet that the water department gives out, not having any food coloring on hand. If after 15 minutes the dye doesn't make it's way into the bowl, you've fixed your tank leak!

You don't have to be a plumber to take care of simple water waste in your home. The San Diego City Water Department has a free residential water survey program you should take advantage if you aren't sure where to start slimming down on your water use.

Here's a great article about "Fix a Leak Week" and the significance of residential water leaks in the larger water use discussion.