Common Ways A Toilet Leaks And Where To Look

The toilet is one of the most important fixtures in your home. And while it may be one of the most used fixtures, it’s also one of the most underrated – until it stops working. Like with many of our modern comforts, we forget how useful our toilets are until they don’t work properly. But once our toilet stops working or starts leaking, we pay attention!

A small leak can grow quickly, damaging the floor, cabinetry, walls, or even the ceiling (if it’s a second-floor bathroom) and internal leaks may lead to higher monthly utility bills. In short, a leaky toilet can be a big headache!

How & Why Toilets Leak

There are many reasons a toilet can leak, both internally and externally. Here are some of the most common reasons your toilet may be leaking, where to look, and how to fix them.

  1. Flapper
    The toilet works by holding water in a tank until it is flushed; it then releases the water from the tank to the bowl, replenishing the supply in the tank. The flapper is the part in the tank that lifts to allow water to move from the tank to the bowl. While flappers are simple devices – think like a gate or door for water – they are not indestructible. Over time, the flapper can warp, crack, break or otherwise become damaged. Additionally, the flapper can become stuck in the open position.
    If the flapper is damaged, it may not be holding the water completely, creating a quiet trickling sound when the toilet is not flushing. This will also result in a higher water bill, as water is moving through the toilet when it should not.
    If the flapper is stuck, the flushing handle will feel limp and unresponsive.
    Open the toilet tank lid to check if the flapper is still connected to the handle – sometimes the chain slips off. If the flapper is stuck open or warped, you can purchase a replacement flapper or a toilet repair kit from your hardware store.
  2. Supply Line
    To refill the tank, water flows back into the tank through a water supply line. When working properly, this is a closed line, keeping air from getting in and water from getting out. However, if the supply line cracks, water may begin to leak out. If you notice water on the floor around the toilet, a cracked supply line could be the culprit. Repairing the supply line is often best left to a professional plumber and requires immediate attention.
  3. Tank
    The tank holds water before it is used to flush out of the bowl. However, tanks are susceptible to cracks as the toilet becomes weaker over time. If you notice water on the floor around the toilet, it may be leaking from a crack in the tank. While sealants and putty can temporarily stop a leak, the best course of action is to replace the toilet or the tank (if you have a two-piece toilet). A new toilet may be a great option, as you could choose a new water-saving design.
  4. Float
    The float sits on top of the water in the tank, monitoring the level and disengaging the supply when it reaches the proper level. If the toilet tank overflows, a bad float is probably the culprit. Replacement floats can be purchased at your local hardware store, and are easy to install without tools.
  5. Fill Valve
    If a bad float isn’t the reason behind an overflowing tank, the fill valve may be to blame. The valve helps control the amount of water that can flow into the tank. Replacing the fill valve is more complicated than replacing a float. If replacing the float does not solve the problem of the overflowing tank, the best option may be to contact a professional plumbing service to replace or repair the fill valve.
  6. Bowl
    If you find water on your bathroom floor that is not coming from the tank, there may be damage to your toilet bowl. If this is the case, it is best to replace the entire toilet.
  7. Connectors
    Like with all plumbing fixtures, the toilet uses connectors to prevent water leaks. If the seal is lost in these connectors, water may escape through the connection point. This is another task that is best left to a plumbing professional.

Toilet Still Leaking? Contact Central Heating Today!

If you are still experiencing issues with your toilet, get in touch with our professional staff at Central Heating and Cooling! Our staff is ready to answer any questions you may have and help you fix them quickly. Reach out today to get started.

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