Finding & Fixing Toilet Leaks | Bathroom Tips

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If you noticed water puddles around your toilet or can’t stop your toilet from leaking, you may be understandably worried. However, before you call the plumber and spend $100 or more for a service call, you might want to try and fix it yourself. Many of the causes of toilet leaks can be fixed with an easy DIY hack and don’t require plumbing experience. We prepared a list of possible leakage causes and some tips on how to deal with them.

Check to see if there is a leakage after all

fix leaky toiletBefore you start messing with the tank or toilet mechanism, it is important to determine if the water is actually leaking from your toilet. Condensation (from hot showers or bath) is the most common cause of the water accumulating on your bathroom floor.

When the steam hits cold surfaces, like porcelain, it turns into drops of water that drip onto your bathroom floor. The other possible option is that your shower liner came out of place and the water collected on your floor is actually originating from the shower and not the toilet. It’s best to first mop up all the water and get the bathroom floor as dry as possible before checking if it accumulates around the toilet.

Check to see where the leakage comes from

Now that you established that the water is leaking from the toilet, there are different factors you might want to consider. Is there water on the floor around the toilet? Do you only see the water leaking into the toilet? The easiest way to locate the leak is to eliminate the water and follow the puddles to the leak source.

There is water around the toilet and on the floor:

  • If there is water around the toilet, and the water is not leaking over the toilet seat, the source might be a cracked toilet bowl. If you can’t see a crack in the bowl, you might try pouring water from a basin into the toilet and seeing if the leakage increases. Another trick is to pour a few drops of food dye into the bowl and wait. If you can see dyed water showing up in places around the toilet- the cause is a cracked bowl.

If it turns out to be a cracked bowl, you can opt for replacing it or try to repair the crack. You can find more information here on how to fix a cracked toilet bowl. 

Whichever option you might choose, keep in mind that it is important to do something to stop the leaking from the bowl. Ignoring toilet leaks can cause irreparable damage to your bathroom floor.

  • If there is water gathering behind the toilet, the water might be leaking from the tank. There are two possible reasons for this:
  1. The bolts have become rusty and are now letting the water drip out on the floor.
  2. The bolts are loose and are letting the water drip out.

In order to fix the first problem, you will need to remove the rusty bolts and inspect the effect that rust had on the tank. If only the bolts were rusty, you’re good to go! If the tank has become rusty around the bolts, you might need to replace the whole tank.

Consider this article to see how to exchange rusting bolts on your tank.

Purchasing a rubber washer can help you with fixing the second problem, as it can help tighten the bolts and stop the leak. Keep in mind that rubber washers should be replaced once every 5 years.

Also, this article will help you in case of loose tank bolts.

  • Another possible leak source is the bottom of the toilet. Every time you flush, water runs through the bowl under strong pressure. Leaks can easily happen if the bowl is not fixed to the ground.

In order to check if this is this is the cause of your toilet leak, put a dish underneath the tank and check if it’s filling up. If it stays empty, the cause is most likely your toilet leaking at the base.

Consider this article for more information on how to fix this kind of a leak:

  • Leaks from the bottom of the toilet can happen due to the bowl not being sealed to the floor and replacing the wax ring might be the solution. Is the leak is accompanied by an unpleasant smell? Is your bowl wobbling from side to side? You can almost be sure that the wax ring is no longer making a tight seal. Check out this article to find more information on how to replace the toilet wax ring.

There is no water on the floor

The constant leaking of the tank water into the bowl is another, very common, type of toilet leak. There are different causes for these types of problems. Since this problem doesn’t bother them as much, people tend to postpone fixing it. Dealing with this problem will prevent the wasting of water and accumulation of hard water stains in your bowl. Apart from the environmental reasons for eliminating the leaks, the cost can add up over a year from even a small leak. 

Have you discovered water leaking from the tank into the bowl?

Here’s what you can do to fix a running toilet:

  1. Remove the lid from the tank
  2. Check the float.

The float rises with water and stops the flow when needed. If you lift the rod that holds the float and the flow stops, it means that the float is not doing its job. You can try bending the rod down, which will put extra pressure on the float. If this doesn’t fix the problem you can always replace the float.

If fixing or replacing the float still doesn’t eliminate the problem, it might be wise to replace the flush valve. You can find more information on how to do that here:

How to Replace Toilet Flush Valve

As you can see, there are different causes to toilet leaks and many possible ways to deal with them. We presented you with ways to identify and solve different leaking problems. The fixes are very easy to apply and don’t require plumbing experience!

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