How to Fix a Toilet Leak

How to Fix a Toilet Leak

About 10,000 gallons of water are wasted in homes every year due to water leaks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Put together, the total amount of water wasted in the US alone could amount to 1 trillion gallons per year. Among the common sources of these leaks are toilet leaks, dripping faucets, and leaking valves.

Besides conserving water, knowing how to fix a leaky toilet can easily save you hundreds of dollars on plumbers’ fee and make you a household hero at the same time. Knowing how to fix a leak is something that every homeowner should know. It may seem intimidating and fixing toilets may seem out of your skill-set but the truth is that anyone can learn.

Detecting the Leak

Before you set out to fix the leak you will first need to know where the leak is. Detecting a leak is simple enough as long as you know how to go about it. When you look inside the tank you will see two valves – the refill and flush valve. You will see other parts as well like the float arm which has the float attached to it as well as the flush ball. If you examine the parts for a minute you should be able to easily figure out the basic workings of a toilet when flushed.

Most leaks are caused when the two valves fail to perform properly. When water is overflowing the tank, it is more than likely because the refill valve has failed. When the flush valve is the cause of the leak, water from the tank continuously flows into the bowl.

To check if the flush valve is the cause of the leak, simply shut off the water supply to the toilet. This is located to the left of the toilet. Once that is done mark the water level of the tank and check back in an hour to see if that water level has changed. If the level has dropped, then the flush valve is the issue. Of course, if the refill valve is leaking you will know by the water flowing over the tank. Once you find the source of the leak, all it takes is a few minutes to perform a simple repair.

Repairing the Refill Valve

In the case of the refill valve all you have to do is adjust the water level. There are two ways to go about this depending on if the tank uses a ballcock refill valve or a plastic refill valve.

Ballcock Refill Valve

* Turn off the water

* Check for the water level mark on the tank

* Adjust the float arm by bending it to match the water level mark.

* The ideal level is 3/4″ below the overflow pipe.

* Test the repair

Plastic Refill Valve

* Turn off the water

* Look for the hand nut in the tank – this controls the water level.

* Turn clockwise to raise the water level or counterclockwise to lower the level.

Flush Valve

* Turn off the water

* Test to see if the flush ball is sealing completely when dropped.

* If the flush ball is not sealing or if it is too high, simply bend the arm until it is.

* Test to see if the flush valve is working properly

While these solutions fix the most common of toilet leaks, homeowners should be aware that the leak can be the result of other causes. One other possible cause, says Denver plumbers Blue Sky Plumbing, is a leaking wax seal. If you believe that the toilet leak is allowing water under the bathroom tile or if it is located under the toilet itself, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional. Most of the time simple adjustments can be made to stop the leak and knowing how to do that will go a long way.