Auto shutoff toilet valves - has anyone used one?

13 Replies

One of my biggest peeves is a steep water bill.  I hate when toilets run or in one case overflowed and tenants don't tell me about it.  Has anyone ever used an auto shut off valve when a leak is detected? Specifically I'm looking at this one

http://aquaone.com/category/toilet-guardian-products/ Any pros or cons that you've experienced?  Thanks.

This is the worst!  The worst!  We send letters out to all of our tenants on a regular basis and have a note asking people to call immediately if they hear their toilet running.  We had a tenant that didn't call about their running toilet, we found out she was so deaf she couldn't hear it.  That was a new one.

I don't have any input on the auto shutoff toilet valves, I just wanted to express my frustration too.  Mind you, I'm curious to hear other people's feedback.

@Andrew Cameron thank you for commiserating!  Hopefully someone will know of a solution or has tried the product I referenced.

Looks like they are out of stock. I would be open to try them since I was in one of my rentals today and two of the toilets were running...

I've installed the kind that has a lock on the float so it can't go down unless the lever is pulled. No flush so the tenant will call.  The only auto shutoff valve I've use is the kind on a dishwasher feed.  Weird system, had to reset it once.

As soon as I close on a property, I install a Niagara 0.8 GPF toilet from Home Depot. They use half the water of standard toilets and have no flapper so they don't leak and run up a water bill. I also do not use regular wax rings, I use the Perfect Seal from Danco and have had absolutely no problems with high water bills, they actually are a little less with the water saving toilets. You can only order the Niagara online.

I have a toilet that doesn't have a flapper.... it's fantastic! Have not had an issue with a leaky toilet since!

One question I have is why not have your tenants pay the water bill. When they pay the bill they're a lot more cognizant of water waste. 

@Steve S. In our municipality they won't actually let us put the water bill in the tenant's name.  It's much easier for them to chase down property owners than tenants.  

Can you actually do that in Winnipeg?

Originally posted by @Steve S. :

I have a toilet that doesn't have a flapper.... it's fantastic! Have not had an issue with a leaky toilet since!

One question I have is why not have your tenants pay the water bill. When they pay the bill they're a lot more cognizant of water waste. 

 The water bill is always in the owners name in Boston, not in the tenants name.  It has always been my understanding that the owner has to pay the water bill and while it may be possible to charge for water, I have never heard of any tenant in Boston getting charged for water. 

Originally posted by @Andrew Cameron :

@Steve S. In our municipality they won't actually let us put the water bill in the tenant's name.  It's much easier for them to chase down property owners than tenants.  

Can you actually do that in Winnipeg?

I once had a SFH rental that I rented to 3 female roommates. Had the water bill change to the tenant's name. It's a municipal water authority.

They lasted eight months and after they left,  didn't pay the electric, phone and water bills. They were up to date on the rent. We knew nothing about the past due water bills when they left, so refunded the security deposit in full.

Six months went by, and the past due water bill, fines and penalties were added to our tax bill because the owner is ultimately responsible. I was never notified because they sent all the past due notices to the tenants.

The former tenants all moved out of state So I had to suck it up and pay the past due water bill and fines. I now have them bill me, and I in turn bill the tenant.

For years after that, whenever I had a new tenant, the electric and phone companies call me to confirm the persons applying for service are real tenants on the lease, not scammers using another name.

I have it arranged that the tenants are responsible for their own water usage.  I simply called the utility and told them that the address is a rental property and that the tenants will be getting the bill in their name. They were great over there! They also will notify me if the bill is late or hasn't been paid in awhile or if they ever need a meter reading. I have had fantastic tenants, and only one time they were behind on the water, a simple text message and I forwarded the email I received from the city and I have never had any issues.

Ohh in that property one toilet is "flapper-less" as I had renovated and build another bathroom in the basement, the second toilet had a flapper but my tenants had replaced the entire internal "mechs" as the toilet tank took a long time to fill for a 2nd flush.

My best advice is replace old toilets and don't install cheap toilets. A low flow toilet should not overflow. Even if it was plugged, you would need to flush it twice to get it to overflow. I am not saying it can't happen, but it is way less likely than the old 5 gallon toilets.

It seems the valve is a band aid for the real problem which is that your toilets need to be replaced.

Yes in Winnipeg its common for Landlords to put the Utilities under the Tenants name. While filling up the Lease a lot of landlords do that. The City of Winnipeg too calls the tenants first if the lease is filled up properly and they have not paid the bill .

Only if the tenants dont pay the Water bill the city of Winnipeg property tax department adds it to the property tax which has to be paid by the owner. They cannot turn the Hydro (Electricity) off completely or collect it forcefully from the Owners if the Tenants dont pay it.

I try to prevent problems before they arise.  When I buy a property, I check the toilet guts and if they appear to be old, I simply replace them.  $15/20 minute job will buy you several years of never even worrying about this.  I haven't had a new one "go bad" so I don't know the average life span...once I know that, I will just plan on replace the guts every X years proactively

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