How to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet

In the average American home, water leaks account for roughly 12% of the overall water use. One of the likeliest culprits is a leaking toilet.

It’s often easy to tell that your toilet has a leak; you can hear a faint trickling or the sound of running water coming from it. However, there are those uncommon times when water flows through the tank without any noise, which makes it ridiculously easy to overlook.

Here are a few helpful tips on what you should do and what to look for when identifying a leaking toilet and the cause.

Visual Inspection

Before you start fixing anything, it’s important to do a visual inspection first. Thoroughly check around the base of the toilet for any kind of damage like cracks. Try and move the toilet back and forth to see if anything’s loose – it should be very difficult to move. If the toilet wobbles easily, simply take off the decorative caps and tighten all the bolts that fasten it to the ground. If you feel like you’re not equipped to do so, this is a very simple procedure for a professional to pull off, so don’t hesitate to call.

Check Water Level

How to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet1If there’s no physical issue in your toilet, the next thing you should look at is the water level inside the tank. All toilet tanks come with an overflow tube. If the ballcock is not placed properly or if the water level is too high, water will keep spilling over to the tube. This leads to a major waste of water.

Food Coloring

Heavy toilet leaks are easy to diagnose – the sound of the tank continuously replenishing itself is an obvious indicator. However, a slow leak is different. It is silent, so you won’t even see the problem right away. This issue can be diagnosed with a basic pantry item: food coloring.

Simply place half a dozen drops or so in the tank. Leave the toilet alone for around 30 minutes, and then come back and check if the water in the bowl has become tinted with the coloring you used in the tank. If you see the change, you’ve got a leak between the bowl and the tank.

Tape Marker

Another common household item you can use to diagnose a leaking toilet is colored tape. First, close the tap that supplies water to the tank. You can find the valve underneath the toilet – just turn it to the right to turn the toilet’s water supply off.

Cut a piece of tape and mark off the tank’s water level. Leave the toilet alone for 10 to 15 minutes and come back to check if the water has fallen below the mark you placed. If it has, then the flush valve might be causing the leak.

If the water stays on the mark, try to examine the toilet’s overflow tube. Take a look at it and see if the water is running into the tube. If yes, this means the toilet fill valve needs to be replaced right away.

Having drippy leaks around your house can be bothersome. By fixing your toilet leak, you’ll surely save a lot on your next water bill. If DIY methods can’t fix your leaking toilet, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet in 4 Steps!

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