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Tips for Fixing a Leaky Toilet

Although Blanton’s is an HVAC company, we often get clients asking about fixing a leaky toilet. Seems like there is not a house in Fayetteville without one! Here’s some information we thought you could use…

Fix Your Leaking Toilet Before It Costs You!

If left unattended it can cost you hundreds of dollars per year. Fixing a leaky toilet doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with a little knowledge and the proper tools, anyone can accomplish it.

First Find The Leak

You will need to start by locating the toilet leak. If there is water on the bathroom floor, then the source of the leaking is down low. There are two places where water on the floor usually come from. First, the water line coming from the wall and into the bottom of the tank. These typically have gate values on them which are notorious for failing after years of never being used. The couplings can also come loose.

If the water line is secure (you’d see water dripping if it were not) then you can start looking at the bowl itself. Toilet bowls don’t typically crack, but the seal between the toilet and the floor can degrade and cause a leak. To fix this, turn off the water supply to the toilet, thoroughly clean the surfaces that must be joined and replace the sealant. After the sealant has been allowed to set for the recommended amount of time on the packaging, the water can be turned back on.

A Leaky Toilet That Runs All the Time

If the toilet is constantly running then there is probably a leak in the tank. To determine if this is the case, lift the lid off the tank and put a few drops of food coloring inside the water. Do not flush the toilet, but watch carefully to see if colored water is escaping into the toilet bowl. This will prove that there is a problem with the tank.

First, flush the toilet and watch to make sure that none of the mechanics are catching each other. If slight adjustments do not fix the problem then either the flush valve or the refill valve is probably faulty. To figure out which:

  • Shut off the water supply to the toilet and mark the water level inside the tank
  • Allow it to sit for half an hour
  • Check to see if the water level has risen or fallen

If you find that the water level has fallen, then your flush valve is broken. Since these are typically made of rubber, they are susceptible to damage from cleaning chemicals. The flush valve can easily be replaced if you shut off the water supply and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.

If the water did not rise but the leaking is still a problem, the refill valve is faulty. Inspect the float, or ball cock, for buoyancy as it might have become waterlogged. If you are unable to repair the existing float, a new one can be fitted easily by following the manufacturer’s directions.

Fixing a Bad Toilet Flapper

The flapper is the round rubber or plastic disk inside the toilet tank that opens to let water drain during a flush. This is the culprit in the majority of leaking toilet issues! You can get a new universal fit flapper at the hardware store for about $3.00. They typically snap right into place. If you have any doubts about your leaky toilet, replace this and it’ll often times fix the problem.

Blanton’s Heating and Air provides high quality plumbing to the residents of Fayetteville and Raleigh, NC. They hope that this information has been helpful. Please contact Blanton’s Heating and Air for more information on the many heating and air services that they offer.

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality