Dye detects toilet tank leak

November 5, 2007 

Fixing leaks is one way to save water without much sacrifice, except perhaps for the cost of a plumber.

Beth Pierce of Raleigh fixed three leaky toilets using an old trick she came across this summer.

As the drought worsened, Pierce dug out a list of water-saving ideas she'd cut out of The News & Observer during the last big drought in 2002. One of the tips: Drop some food coloring into the toilet tank, then watch to see whether the dye shows up in the bowl. If it does, you've got a leak, even if there are no other signs or sounds of trouble.

"Just a few drops, and pretty quickly it'll go down into the bowl," Pierce said.

Pierce shares a large old house that has five bathrooms. One day, when she heard a plumber was coming over to look at something in the kitchen, she ran next door to borrow some food coloring and dropped it into the toilet tanks.

"We found leaks in at least three of them," Pierce said. "And while the plumber was there, he was able to make an adjustment and fix them."

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