Leaky toilets in British homes wasting 2.8 billion litres of water each day

Millions of Brits aren't feeling flush – because their leaky toilets are wasting as much as 2.8 billion litres of water each day, research has revealed.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults found a quarter currently have a form of leak in their loos because damaged valves either drip down inside of the bowl or down the overflow tube, rather than onto the floor.

Of those with a leaking loo, 4% – equating to more than a million households across the country – had no idea it was there before taking part in the survey.

On average though, householders with a leak in their toilet bowl have known about the problem for around six months – perhaps because more than half of Brits admit they wouldn’t think about a water leak if it wasn’t making a mess.

With each leaking toilet valve wasting between 200 and 400 litres of water daily, and almost 28 million households in the UK, this means a staggering seven million homes could be sending up to 2.8 billion litres of drinkable water down the drain every day.

With approximately half of those households being on a water meter – paying for how much water they use – it should come as no surprise that 44% of Brits think their water bills are too high.

And to make matters worse, more than four in 10 adults also have dripping taps in their homes – with 19% saying it is a constant issue.

The research was carried out by British Gas, which offers a leak detector as part of its Hive range of smart home products. As soon as the detector senses anything out of the ordinary in terms of the household’s water usage, it sends an alert to the homeowner’s smartphone.

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A spokesperson for British Gas said: “Everyone has heard horror stories of damaged pipework leaking through the floorboards, or cracks in the roof leading to costly repairs.

"But we pay far less attention to the hidden leaks that don’t pose a visible, physical problem, despite the fact that they can still cost us a lot of money over the years – not to mention wasting valuable resources.”

It’s not just leaks causing issues around the home.

The imminent threat of water shortage facing the UK has prompted the government to set ambitious leakage reduction targets for households via the Water Services Regulation Authority, (or Ofwat).

But even so, many UK households continue to waste energy and water through their everyday habits and behaviour.

A quarter admit to putting the washing machine on when it's only half full, while 15% put the dishwasher on when it's only half full.

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Nearly a third leave the tap running when they're brushing their teeth, and a fifth admit to filling the sink with water to wash only a small amount of dishes.

That could explain why 39% admit they have an 'I'll start tomorrow' attitude when it comes to lowering their energy and water consumption.

A spokesperson for British Gas added: “Three quarters (73%) of respondents to our survey said that wasting water is easy to do because they don't really see the effects immediately. And that’s where our new leak detector can help.

“We analysed the frequency of hidden “background” water flows – caused by things like broken toilet valves – in more than 2,000 homes, and there was a 76% reduction within the first year of having a Hive Leak Sensor installed.

“That means the Hive leak detector solution is effectively helping people to identify hidden background flows and leaks so they can get them fixed, reducing the likelihood of water damage and engaging them in their water consumption at the same time.”

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