Fix Leaking Toilet

Do you hear your toilet refilling more frequently than usual? Or can you hear a steady hiss of running water? If your answer is yes, then it might be time to fix that leaking toilet.

A leaking toilet seal should not be taken lightly. When left unsolved, this problem can result in a toilet leaking from the base. Before you call for plumbing services, it helps to know the process of fixing a toilet flapper leaking.

How to fix a toilet flapper

A flapper is a rubber-coated valve that seals the water inlet at the bottom of the toilet tank. Toilet flappers are generally made from molded thermoplastic elastomers and come in two varieties: float ball or lift chain.

Identifying a Leak Point

The flapper, also called the flush valve seal, is the plug that falls against the drain hole or flush valve drain seat found on the bottom of the tank. It also holds water in the tank until the next time you flush.

Food coloring or dye tablets can be used to determine if you have a toilet valve leaking. It also helps you see if you have a toilet leaking from the tank. This works great for confirming a faster leak but does not always confirm a slow leak. It also doesn’t tell you where the leak is.

To locate the leak point, turn the water off at the valve with a full tank. Do not flush the toilet. Next, make a pencil mark in the tank at its current water level. Wait for 15 minutes to see if there are any changes and check if there is a leaking toilet tank.

Make a new mark once there is a reduction of water. If it has not changed, wait a little longer. Keep doing that until there are no more changes. You can then inspect the flush valve for a leak point just above the water surface.


The water should eventually drop down to the leak’s level and stop. If the seat that the flapper rests on is damaged or the flapper itself is worn, you will see the water level stop just below the flapper. Water completely draining from the tank means the gasket sealing the flush valve into the tank is leaking.

If a leak still happens after a new installation, the lock nut may need further tightening. The lock nut of the flush valve should not be tightened more than ½ turn beyond hand tight.

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How to Fix  a Toilet Flapper that is Leaking

Most of the time, fixing a running toilet is fairly simple. The old flapper just needs to be removed and replaced. Take the flapper with you to the local hardware store or home center and find a matching replacement.

In some cases, however, replacing the toilet flapper will not work. If you’ve tried this method but the toilet still runs, the flush valve seat is likely pitted or rough. You can replace the whole flapper valve but it’s a big job.

In general, it’s actually not a good idea to take the DIY route when it comes to toilet repairs, as you might do more harm than good and end up damaging the toilet even further.

Toilets are one of the most-used items at home and it can be such a hassle if they start breaking down due to wear and tear. The toilet flapper, in particular, is susceptible to damage over time. For homeowners experiencing this problem, the best solution is always to call for plumbing services. With an expert professional, you can be sure that you are in good hands.

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