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How to Identify and Fix a Leaking Toilet

How to Identify and Fix a Leaking Toilet

November 24, 2017

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The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, and it usually has to do with the toilet. If you wake up from a turkey hangover only to discover something wrong, such as a leaking or running toilet, these steps to fix a leaking toilet could save you a call to the plumber.

How to Identify a Leaking Toilet

  • Remove the lid from your toilet tank.
  • Pour a few drops of food dye into the toilet tank.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes.
  • Check the water in the toilet bowl to see whether the food dye has made it into the toilet bowl. If you see any color in the bowl, your toilet has a leak.

Here’s another way to tell if your toilet has a leak:

  • Close the tap that supplies water to the toilet tank. The individual water shut-off valve is located underneath the toilet. Turn it to the right to turn off water to your toilet.
  • Use a piece of tape to mark off the water level in the tank.
  • Come back after 10-15 minutes to see whether the water has fallen below that mark. If yes, it means that the leak is coming from the flush valve.
  • If the water stays on that mark, examine the overflow tube and check if the water is running into the tube. If the water is running into the tube, it means that you need to replace the toilet fill valve.

Once you have figured out the problem, you can either get the tools from a hardware shop and fix it yourself or hire a professional Denver plumber from Fix-It 24/7 to remove your toilet and fix all the leakage for you.

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

There are many areas where a toilet can leak, such as the fill valve, overflow tube, and from around the base of the toilet. If the toilet is leaking around the base of your toilet, turn off the water from your toilet’s individual water shut-off valve and contact a professional plumber.

If the leak is somewhere between the tank and the bowl, you can probably fix it yourself with some basic supplies form your local home improvement store. The most common cause of a leaking toilet is an old or ill-fitting flapper.

The flapper is the round piece that covers the hole at the bottom of your toilet tank. If the flapper gasket is not creating a full seal, water will continue to leak from the bottom of your tank and into your bowl.

  • Turn off the water to your toilet.
  • Flush the toilet so there is no water left in your tank.
  • Inspect the flapper for damage. Is it creating a tight seal?
  • Replace the flapper with a universal toilet flapper from your local home improvement store. They are inexpensive, usually costing under $10.

The next most common cause of a leaking toilet is the toilet chain. If it becomes tangled or caught on something, it could cause your toilet to run.

  • Open up the toilet tank.
  • Is the chain tangled or stuck? Readjust it.
  • Is the chain too short or too long?
  • If the chain is too short, replace it.
  • If the chain is too long, you can adjust it with wire cutters.

The last thing you want to check is the ball float. Eventually, it will need to be replaced.

  • Open up the toilet tank.
  • Is the ball float cracked or full of water?
  • Replace it using a ball float from your local home improvement store.
  • If water is leaking out of your overflow tube, your ball float will need to be lowered.
  • You can lower the ball float by tightening the screw at the top of your fill valve. This piece is known as the float adjustment screw. Just follow the ball float arm to the vertical fill valve and you should see the adjustment screw on top. Tighten it to lower the float arm; loosen it to raise the float arm.
  • The water line in your tank should be about 1 inch below the overflow tube. Adjust the ball float as necessary.

Watch this video for a visual demonstration:

Once you have checked the flapper, chain, and float, check all the parts to make sure they are working properly. We hope this helped solve your leaking toilet problem!

If you need help to fix a leaking toilet, or if water is leaking from the base of your toilet, contact Fix-It 24/7 for fast, reliable plumbing service.

Fix-It 24/7 Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric provides reputable plumbing services for Boulder and the entire Denver Metro Area, including drain repair, repiping, toilet replacements, leak detection, and much more!

Call us now at (303) 214-0277 or schedule service online.

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