A leaky toilet might not seem like such a big issue – after all the water is just running into the bowl and not flooding your home. But a running toilet creates an annoying racket and can drive up your water bill before you even realize what the issue is. You might be able to manage a quick fix by jiggling the flush button, but that can end up being a very inconsistent fix to a very persistent problem. Fortunately, fixing a leaky toilet can be easy, by simply following these four steps.
Step 1: Check the Float and Inlet Valve
To fix a running toilet leak, the first step is to examine the problem. You need to check two components of the toilet tank—the float and the inlet valve. When you look in the tank, the water should stop filling before it reaches the top opening of the overflow valve. If the water does not stop, look at the float and make sure it is still floating on top of the water. Next, flush the toilet. As the tank refills, lift the rod that is attached to the float. If the water stops, it’s a sign the inlet valve is working.
Step 2: Adjust the Toilet Tank Water Level
You may need to adjust the water level in the tank. You can do so by turning the small screw located at the top of the float. If this adjustment does not stop the water flow, it could indicate damage to the float. Purchasing a replacement float from a home improvement store and installing it should resolve the issue.
Step 3: Replace the Toilet’s Ballcock Assembly
If the above steps still do not correct the problem, then there may be a problem with the ballcock. This can also be an easy fix. You will just need to purchase a replacement ballcock, which you can find at any home improvement store. Complete your replacement by turning off the water supply to the toilet, flush the toilet to remove the water from the tank, then remove the old ballcock assembly and replace it with the new one. After you turn the water supply back on, the toilet leak should be repaired.
Step 4: Adjust or Replace the Toilet’s Flapper
If the above steps still have not corrected the problem, then you may need to replace the toilet’s flapper. To evaluate the toilet flapper, turn the water off and monitor whether the water level drops during the next half-hour. If the water level drops, completely drain the tank and closely examine the flapper. The chain for the flapper could be set too tight, which may be preventing the flapper from closing. You may need to adjust it or replace it with a new, slightly longer chain that allows the flapper to fully close. Alternatively, the flapper may be damaged, if this happens to be true, then you need to replace it with a new flapper.
While correcting a toilet leak can ultimately be a simple task, the hardest part is often identifying the source of the leak and applying the fix correctly. If you’re not an expert with the anatomy of a toilet, or if none of the above steps seem to correct the problem, give your local professional plumber, Shepherds Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning, a call. We can troubleshoot your toilet troubles or even upgrade you to a more water-efficient model if necessary, to alleviate your leak headaches and save you money over time.