Help for Do-It-Yourself Plumbers to Stop a Leaky Toilet

Help for Do-It-Yourself Plumbers to Stop a Leaky Toilet

When your toilet is leaking you can waste hundreds of gallons of water. All the waste translates into a higher water bill. Following is information for do-it-yourself plumbers to identify the source of the problem and take simple steps to fix running water.

Detect Problems with the Flushing Assembly

When trying to detect the problem with a leaking toilet, the first place a plumber starts is by watching how the flushing mechanisms work. Take the ceramic lid off the tank. Watch what happens when you flush the toilet a few times. Pay attention to the following parts and what they do while the tank drains and refills:

  • Flapper valve--Does it drop and seat correctly?
  • Chain--Is it catching on something?
  • Water level--Is it too high or too low?
  • Float--Does it rise easily and trigger the shut-off valve?
  • Minerals--Are they built up to the point where they interfere with any of the mechanisms?

Solutions for the Problems

Once you have identified the problem, the steps to correct it are simple. Remember, though, that the parts of a toilet are delicate. Don't force, bend, or use pressure to manipulate the parts. Doing so could cause them to break and give you a much bigger problem to take care of.

Before you start any repair, turn off the water to the toilet using the shut-off valve located near the floor, usually on the back, left-hand side. Proceed with the appropriate solution for the problems you identified above. These solutions could include the following:

  • Flapper valve--Replace old flapper valves that aren't seating correctly.
  • Chain--Slide a plastic straw over the chain to keep it from catching. Replace it if that doesn't work.
  • Water level--Adjust the float.
  • Float--Replace or clean the float.
  • Mineral deposits--Gently wipe off all minerals using a soft rag. Once a month mix vinegar into the tank water and let it sit overnight.

Water Leaking onto the Floor

If you find that water is leaking onto the floor the problem is not with the flushing mechanism. Rather, the problem is likely with the wax seal that connects the toilet to the floor. If the wax is old it may have developed cracks or become compressed to the point that the toilet isn't seated properly.

Solutions for Problems with Wax Seal

If you suspect the wax seal isn't working correctly the first thing to do is tighten the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor. Don't over-tighten them. If this doesn't work you'll need to take up the toilet and replace the wax seal. For a job this complicated you may want to call a plumbing company for hel

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