Are leaky loos costing households in the North West the earth?

TOP North West plumber Drew Styles backs campaign to combat invisible problem 

- Two fifths of people (40%) in the North West have had a leaky loo in the past

- *Waterwise says leaky loos can lose between 215 to 400 litres of water per day

- Fixing a single leaky loo can save up to £400 a year for people with a water meter

Leaking toilets could be hitting North West householders in the pocket and putting the region’s precious environment under needless strain, according to a new campaign by United Utilities.

The claim follows research which reveals that whilst two thirds of people (64%) in the North West were confident they could tell that their loo was leaking, when quizzed on the signs, most respondents were incorrect. 

Many assumed that they would see water on the floor. Not true. In modern toilets, leaking cisterns run straight into the toilet bowl, so it’s easy to miss. As a result, up to 8% of loos in the North West are leaking unnoticed. 

Although leaky loos don’t cause an immediate plumbing headache, they are a potential financial drain. For households with a water meter, a single leaky loo could cost up to £400 extra a year on their water bill – money that is literally going down the drain. 

Fixing a leaky loo also helps to save the environment. Waterwise* estimates around 400 million litres of water leaks from UK loos every day, which is enough to supply 2.8 million people with water. That’s enough water to supply the populations of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol combined. What people may not realise as well is that water in the loo is actually world-class drinking water, meaning that when people don’t get their leaky loos fixed, precious clean water is going to waste. 

United Utilities’ research found that although two fifths of people (40%) in the North West admitted having a leaky loo in the past, less than a third (30%) said they would get it fixed straightaway. Reasons for this included simply not getting round to it or believing it wasn’t causing them any inconvenience. Lockdown has also played a part in the leaky loo problem with people being more hesitant than ever in letting people in the house.

Now United Utilities has recruited former UK Plumber of the Year Drew Styles, from Wigan as its leaky loo ambassador to get the message out that fixing leaks loos is good for your pocket and the planet.

Drew will soon be featuring in series of videos to help explain to people in the North West what leaky loo signs to look out for and why we should be getting our loos fixed – so watch this space. 

Said Drew: “I’m really excited to be part of this campaign and get the North West’s leaky loo problem sorted. Leaking loos are a really common problem, but they are usually pretty easy to fix for a trained professional. Most of the time I can even get them fixed on my first visit and help stop my customers from losing water straightaway.”

Emma McCabe, Water Efficiency Manager at United Utilities, says: “With people being at home more often, now is a great opportunity for people in the North West to check their loos for any signs of a leak. At United Utilities we’re dedicated to tackling the leaky loo problem and are delighted to have our expert Drew on hand. Our aim is to help our customers save this precious water to reduce their water costs and also, to help save the environment”.

United Utilities customers can check their loos for leaks by ordering a free leaky loo strip online at