Leaking Toilets

If you suspect a leak in your toilet, you should test it right away. The toilet is the largest consumer of water in your home and generally accounts for over 25% of the total water you use!  There are some simple steps you can take to test a toilet for leaks.

  • Try the dye method. Open the toilet tank, drop a dye tablet or some food coloring in, and wait 15 to 20 minutes. When you return, look in the toilet bowl, not the tank. If you see colored water, then you have a leak.
  • Look for trickling water. Make sure your water level isn’t above the overflow pipe in the tank. If it is, then you may have a problem with your fill valve. If you see water trickling down the inside of the toilet bowl when it hasn’t been flushed, this is a sign of a leak.
  • If your toilet is constantly running, even when it isn’t used, then you definitely have a leak. If you can jiggle the flush handle and make the running stop then you probably need to adjust the flapper valve or the chain connecting the flush handle to the flapper valve.
  • Another option is to shut the water off to the toilet in question. Wait several hours and check the water level in the tank. If there is only an inch of water left at the bottom of the tank, then one or more of your tank parts is bad and is allowing the leak.
  • If you believe you have a leak at the base of your toilet, stop using it right away. Leaks from the base spill dirty water and may smell. Any leak from the base can cause damage to the subfloor. You will want to repair it immediately.  You should double check the toilet to make sure that the leak is not coming from somewhere higher on the toilet. This could cause water to drip down the sides and pool on the floor.
  • If the base is leaking, try tightening the t-bolts, which fasten the toilet to the floor. Simply remove the plastic covers at the base and tighten the bolts. Be very careful not to overtighten because it could crack the porcelain.
  • Toilet leaks may also indicate that you need a new wax ring to seal the connection between the toilet and the drain pipe. Replacing a wax ring is fairly simple. After purchasing a new wax ring, shut the water off to the toilet, disconnect the water supply line, unscrew the t-bolts, remove the toilet and place it on its side. Clean away the remains of the previous wax ring and place the new one on the bottom of the toilet. Reset the toilet, tighten the t-bolts and replace the caps. Reconnect the water supply line and turn on the valve. Test the toilet for leaks to see if the issue is resolved.

If you have a leaking toilet, contact NRH Plumbing at 612-900-7728. Our skilled commercial plumbers can handle all of your plumbing needs!

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