Last Updated: January 9, 2021
We’ve listed all of the most common reasons the toilet might leak and the steps you need to take to fix each one. Join us while we discuss flanges, floats, flaps inlet hoses, and more to help keep your toilet leak-free.
Repairing a Leaky Toilet Tank
To make it easy to follow, we’ve decided to list the reasons your toilet might leak from simple to complex. Hopefully, you won’t need to read long before you find your problem.
Determine the Cause of the Leak
The first thing you want to do is find the cause of the leak.
Sweating is a common problem during the summer months. As the air warms up, it holds more moisture, and the cold water in your toilet makes the perfect surface for the water to condense. On humid days you can collect quite a bit of water around the toilet, especially if you use it often.
When you have a war and flat water will slowly leak out the bottom of the tank. As the water level falls, the float will sink, which will trigger the mechanism to refill the tank. As the condition of the flap worsens, the tank will fill more often.
Most modern flaps look like the one we’ve linked to, but there are still plenty of antique models in operation that may require more effort to change and find a replacement.
Sticking or Improperly Set Floater Switch
If the floater is not stopping the switch when the tank is full or not starting the water refill when the tank is flushed, you will need a new toilet fill valve. The fill valve is the heart of the toilet and is responsible for the water level in the tank and starting and stopping the water flow. Many people choose to change the flap when they change the toilet’s fill valve, and many kits include both components. If your positive that flap is in good shape, you don’t need a pink change and save the step.
Shut-off Valve and Inlet Hose
Usually, a pipe comes up from the floor and immediately stops at a valve that you can use to shut off the water leading to the toilet. This valve is the shut-off valve, and the hose leading from it to your toilet is the inlet hose. It’s much more common to see a leaky inlet hose because it tends to crimp overtime from changing refill valves, which causes the hose to wear quickly in that area resulting in leaks. It’s less common to see a leaky shut-off valve, but the internal threads wear out over time, and they can become hard to turn.
If you have water coming from under or inside the toilet, it is most likely a problem with the toilet flange, which will require replacing the wax ring that seals the toilet to the floor. This project is a little more involved and not something everyone is willing or able to take on.
It’s a relatively easy but messy job. You won’t need any special tools, and the toilet’s weight does most of the work of seating the wax ring correctly to create a tight seal. However, you will likely need to deal with some waste material, and some toilets can get quite heavy. Unless you tackle this problem immediately, you will have a damaged floor that will require much more extensive and costly repairs.
- Pro Tip: Never pour hot water in the toilet as it can melt the wax ring.
If water is pouring from the tank, you most likely have a cracked body. Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix a cracked tank, and you’ll need to replace the entire toilet. You might be able to use a silicone sealant to repair it temporarily, but you won’t want to let it go because that much water can cause a lot of damage. Unless you recently purchased your toilet, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that a new toilet can save water and reduce monthly water bills. Many modern toilets also have a stronger flush and easier to service parts.
The most common issue with the bathroom toilet is a leaky flap that allows water to run down the drain causing the toilet to keep refilling. The next most common problem is a faulty refill valve that fails to shut off the water once the tank is full, so the toilet continues to run. Both problems occur frequently, and you can expect to change these parts more than a dozen times in your life. The other problems are fairly rare, but they do occur. You should always prepare for the worst and keep extra parts on hand, so you can tend to any leaks before the problem worsens.
We hope you have enjoyed reading have found some helpful tips to keep your bathroom dry and operating properly. If we have helped answer your questions, please share this guide to repairing a leaking toilet on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: docent, Shutterstock