How to Fix a Leaking Toilet
Is your leaking toilet becoming a watery headache? Don't worry – there is probably an easy solution to this annoying problem.
A leaking toilet can be an irritating and potentially costly problem if left unaddressed. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to finding and fixing that troublesome leak and preventing any further damage.
If you’re unsure about the problem, don’t make matters worse by guessing. Make sure you call a professional plumber to solve the issue.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get that toilet back in working order.
What Are the Signs My Toilet is Leaking?
A leaking toilet can lead to water wastage, costly repairs, and potential damage to your home. Recognising the signs of a toilet leak early on can help you take prompt action and prevent further issues.
Here are some clear indicators that your toilet may be leaking:
- Water on the floor: If you notice water pooling around the base of your toilet bowl or on the floor nearby, it is a strong indication of a leaking toilet. This could be caused by a faulty seal or a crack in the toilet bowl or tank.
- Continuous running water: If you hear your toilet constantly running, even when it hasn’t been recently flushed, it may be due to a leak. This usually occurs when water is continuously flowing from the tank to the bowl, indicating a faulty flapper valve or fill valve.
- Unexplained increase in water bills: A sudden and unexplained spike in your water bills could be a result of a hidden toilet leak. Even small leaks can waste a significant amount of water over time, causing your bills to rise.
- Mould or mildew growth: Leaking water can create a damp environment, leading to the growth of mould or mildew around your toilet. Keep an eye out for any musty odours or visible signs of mould on the walls or flooring near the toilet.
- Toilet bowl discolouration: If you notice rust or water stains on the inside of the toilet bowl that cannot be removed with regular cleaning, it could be a sign of a leak. The presence of minerals or bacteria from a leak can cause discolouration over time.
If you observe any of these signs, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Contact a professional plumber to diagnose the problem accurately and provide appropriate repairs. Taking swift action can save you from extensive water damage, costly repairs, and unnecessary expenses in the long run.
Identifying the Problem
Before diving into the fixes, it’s crucial to determine the cause of the leak. Here are some common reasons your toilet may be leaking:
- Damaged flapper: The flapper is a rubber seal that controls water flow from the tank to the bowl. If it’s damaged or worn out, it can result in a constant trickle of water into the bowl.
- Faulty fill valve: The fill valve is responsible for refilling the toilet tank after each flush. If it’s not working correctly, water can continuously flow into the tank, causing a leaking toilet.
- Faulty washer: If water is constantly running into the toilet bowl, it’s a sign that the rubber washer which seals the cistern has ripped or perished. It can be easily replaced but, if the problem persists, it could be a sign that the internals of the cistern also need replacing. In this case, it could be time for a new cistern.
Fixing a Leaking Toilet
Now that we have a clear understanding of the potential cause, let’s explore the steps to fix a leaking toilet. Remember, if you are unsure about your DIY plumbing skills or you don’t have the correct tools, it’s always recommended to call a fully qualified plumber to do the job.
- Turn off the water supply – Locate the water shut-off valve, typically located behind or beside the toilet. Turn the valve clockwise until it’s fully closed, stopping the water flow.
- Inspect the flapper – Remove the toilet tank lid and carefully inspect the flapper. If the flapper appears damaged or worn out, it needs to be replaced. Note: Flapper designs vary, so take a picture or consult the toilet’s user manual to ensure you choose the correct replacement.
- Replace the flapper – Drain any remaining water from the tank by flushing the toilet and holding down the handle. Remove the old flapper by disconnecting it from the chain or the overflow tube. Install the new flapper, ensuring a tight seal, and reconnect it properly. Turn on the water supply, and test for leaks by flushing the toilet.
- Check the fill valve – If the flapper isn’t the issue, inspect the fill valve for any faults. If it’s malfunctioning, consider replacing the fill valve. Again, refer to the toilet’s manual or consult with a professional plumber for guidance.
- Seek professional help – If you’re unsure about the cause or are uncomfortable performing the repairs yourself, it’s always wise to consult a fully qualified plumber. A skilled plumber can accurately diagnose the problem and provide an effective solution tailored to your specific toilet model.
How to Prevent Future Leaks
Prevention is always better than cure – particularly when it comes to an annoying leaking toilet. To avoid future leaks and water wastage, consider implementing these preventive measures:
- Regular maintenance: Check your toilet for leaks periodically. Look for any visible water around the base or listen for continuous running water. Inspect the flapper and fill valve for signs of wear and tear, and replace them if necessary. Clean the toilet tank and bowl regularly to prevent mineral build-up.
- Be mindful of what you flush: Avoid flushing excessive toilet paper or non-flushable items, such as wipes, sanitary products or cotton balls. Educate household members on proper flushing habits to prevent clogs and strain on the toilet’s mechanisms.
Fixing a leaking toilet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can tackle the problem and restore your toilet’s functionality. Remember, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the repairs, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber to avoid any further damage or potential mishaps.
Taking preventative measures and performing regular maintenance will help you avoid future leaks and keep your toilet in tip-top shape. Enjoy a leak-free and hassle-free bathroom experience.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See 23 Hour Plumbing’s Terms & Conditions here.
Last Edited on: 18th September 2023