If you’re hearing the sound of water running in your bathroom, you could have a leaky toilet. A common place where toilet leaks occur is in the toilet tank. Leaky flapper valves, tank parts and fill valves are some of the root causes you need to address in order to fix a leaking toilet.
Roto-Rooter plumbing professionals provide 24-hour emergency toilet repair and replacement services. But if you prefer to fix toilet leak yourself, here are some basic repair options.
Before you tackle anything, drain the toilet. Turn off the supply valve and flush the toilet. Disconnect the supply line from the tank and soak up the remaining water inside the tank until it's completely dry.
Replace the fill valve. Before you buy a new fill valve, remove the old one and take it to the store so that you get the right replacement part. Install the new fill valve according to the instructions and attach the refill tube. Re-attach the supply line to the fill valve. Turn the shut-off valve back on and allow the tank to fill. You can adjust the water level using the screw on the float (FluidMaster 400) so the water level in the tank is approximately one inch below the overflow tube and check for leaks.
Replace toilet gaskets. Your toilet has two gaskets that seal the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. It also has a gasket that seals the flush valve, as well as one that seals the water passage between the tank and the bowl, called a tank bowl gasket. If the tank bolt washers fail, you'll see water on the floor under the tank. If the flush valve gasket or the tank bowl gasket fails, you'll see water between the seat and the tank.
If you are making these types of toilet repairs, at this point you need to rebuild the toilet tank while you have everything apart. First you must shut off the water to the toilet.
To replace the tank bolt washers, remove the bolts and if they are not too corroden, then you might be able to clean them with white vinegar and a wire brush. Typically, you will buy a package of two tank bolts with washers and replace the old with the new. You need a clean surface for the washers to seal properly so clean the inside of the tank as well as around the hold for the tank bolts. Reinstall the bolts, new washers inside the tank and the nuts.
If you are replacing the flush valve gasket, you’ll need to remove the plastic nut on the underside of the tank. This is where the tank bowl gasket is also located. In fact, this gasket fits over the flush valve nut. Replace the flush valve and tank bowl gasket with new parts.
If the leak is not coming from a leaky toilet tank, the leak may be coming from around the toilet base. This leak occurs when you flush the toilet. Tightening the toilet bolts (Johnny bolts) and replacing the wax ring are two ways to fix this problem, but make sure the leak is in fact coming from the base.
Tightening the toilet bolts might not stop a leak if the wax ring is not sealing properly. You may need to replace the wax ring. Before the toilet is removed, shut off the water and drain the toilet and tank. Remove the toilet from the floor and lay it on its side. Remove the old wax ring and clean around the area. Install the new wax ring on the base of the toilet. Set the toilet back in its original position. Tighten down the toilet bolts, alternating from bolt to bolt. Use a box or open end wrench, but do not overtighten. Turn the water on and check for leaks around the base. You will need to caulk around the base, but you might want to wait a few days to make sure the leak has in fact been fixed and no more water is appearing around the base.
If you have a toilet that always seems to clog or run, or if you need a full toilet replacement, Roto-Rooter's licensed plumbing specialists can solve the problem.