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9 Possible Reasons Your Toilet is Leaking

Dec 13 2022
Toilet Leaking

There is perhaps no other fixture in our home that is as trustworthy and well-used as the toilet. Besides its regular cleaning, the cost of toilet maintenance is considered to be relatively lower than that of other rooms in the home. Toilet fixtures function normally all year round, with no major flaws. 

However, if something goes wrong in the toilet, your sanity may be called into question. A simple leak in the toilet can result in a pool of water and bring different problems along with it. For instance, it may damage the floor and walls, and affect the internal pump, and drain pipe. Hence, increase your utility bill every month unless you fix it.

In this blog, we’re going to ease your worries and break down the top 9 most common causes behind leaking toilets. This is a great starting point even before your emergency plumber arrives, so you can help expedite the process. After all, the sooner you can get to the root of the problem, the sooner it can be fixed.

Although it can be easy to ignore the initial signs, there are good reasons for you to fix the leaky toilet as soon as possible.

Damaged Flapper

1. Damaged Flapper

Water is stored in the tank until it’s used to flush the toilet. The flapper is one of the tank’s most important parts and is made of plastic or rubber. It acts as a barrier between the tank and the bowl. A flapper can hold a seal in order to store the water in the tank.If there is a problem with the new flapper not sealing properly, this will cause a leaking toilet flapper. A deteriorated flush valve (flapper valve) at the bottom of the toilet tank is the main cause of running toilets. If the flapper does not seat properly on the flush valve seat, water will leak into the bowl. The leak was caused due to gap in the flush valve. This can be fixed by replacing the flush valve seal.

When flushed, the flapper present in the tank lifts to make way for the water to flow into the bowl. Hence, it restores the supply to defend the interior from the growth of bacteria and staining.

As soon as the flapper gets back to its still position, the tank fills up with water, and this process continues.

Flappers may come across as a simple part between the tank and the bowl. However, they are also destructive. Over time, it can get cracked up, broken, or deformed to fail to control the flow of water ultimately. Consequently, this leads to toilet leaks from the tank to the bowl.

Accordingly, a water-leaking toilet seal can create a major problem. Plumbers call it a “silent leak,” as most homeowners could not detect it. Therefore, homeowners with silent toilet seal leaks can probably expect a higher water bill than usual. A toilet flapper valve can become dirty or broken over time, collecting dirt and rust.

You can do one check and know the answer to how to tell if your water is leaking slowly. To save money on your water bill, try to fix this problem by paying attention to the sounds produced in the toilet after every flush. After the bowl fills up with water, there should not be any trickling sounds coming from it. The good news is that the damaged flapper is relatively cheap and easy to fix. You may think of how to fix a toilet leak. Well, in this case, using a toilet repair kit, you can remove the old flapper and install a new one in the tank.

2. Faulty Toilet Float

Faulty Toilet FloatA toilet float is a ball that floats on top of the water in the toilet tank. It’s also called the ballcock or float valve. Its purpose is to signal the mechanism that controls water intake when the tank needs refilling. Normally, water should discontinue flowing into the tank after it attains a certain level. The float settles on top of the water, supervising the level of water and freeing the supply after it reaches a certain point. Wear and tear or simply mechanical damage can cause this part of the toilet to get crack or become misaligned. When this happens, the fill valve will run continuously. However, if your tank is overflowing, you may have to blame the bad float for it. Fortunately, it is not a big deal to repair a faulty float. In most cases, a replacement float can be easily installed. All you need to do is simply slip it into place, and it will do the job perfectly without putting much effort or tool usage.

Before attempting to fix this problem yourself, you first need to figure out if this is really the reason behind your toilet leaking. Once you have, here are the steps to replacing it:

  1. Start by shutting off the water supply to your toilet. Generally, you’d be able to do this by turning the valve clockwise.
  2. Next, remove the water from the tank by flushing it. You can clean out the remaining water with an absorbent material like a towel.
  3. Use pliers to unscrew the arm of the old toilet float and remove it.
  4. Thread and screw the new toilet float into place. It needs to be securely connected to the fill valve.
  5. You can now turn on the water and see if your leakage problem has stopped.

Just as with the other items on this list, you can always call in the experts to help you fix a leaking toilet if you want to be sure of getting a solution that will last you years, without any hiccups.

 3. Stuck Flapper

Stuck FlapperSometimes the toilet flapper remains in good condition. Still, its functioning might not be appropriate. Often, flappers do not stay in the resting position and stick to the opening position. This allows the continual flow of toilet leaking from tank to bowl. If this is happening in your toilet, check the flushing handle, as most of the time, it is likely to feel floppy and unresponsive.

To fix your toilet bowl leaking problem, lift off the tank lid to check whether the flapper is still connected to the flushing handle. This small investigation can help you find that the chain has slipped off or there is a need for a reset on the flushing handle.

The mechanism of the flapper that does the job of moving up and down might need to be replaced. Flappers are sold as individual devices and are also included in toilet repair kits. So, if you want to fix a leaky toilet by DIY, it will also be feasible for you.


4. Broken/ Leaky Supply Line

Broken/ Leaky Supply LineThe flow of water is directed to the tank of water through the water supply line. When the line works properly, it remains a closed system. Hence, there is no scope for seeping in of air and seeping out of water.

However, you would notice over time or due to high water pressure, the supply line cracks and breaks down. In such a case, you may see water spread on the floor around the toilet. In a more serious case, there can be a flood on the toilet floor. Leaks usually happen when joints in the supply line grow weak or become loose. The rubber lining within the supply line, which is there to prevent leakage, can also rupture. This is either caused by gradual wear and tear or mechanical damage to the supply line.

So, if your toilet is leaking, you should call a plumber for prompt assistance. Remember, this is critical and needs an expert to minimize damage to your toilet and home.

But, if you want to repair your leaking toilet, make sure to turn off the water flow to your toilet and carefully replace the cracked water supply line. Also, coat the new toilet piping system with the plumber’s tape and attach it to the toilet and leaking toilet valve. For making it more secure you can even use plastic repair epoxy putty as well.

While handling DIY projects, ensure proper security and safety of not damaging the new supply line or toilet valve leaking through over-tightening. Always test the new supply line after installation to ensure that no toilet leaking when flushed.

This is relatively easy to fix. If you are confident in your home repair skills and you’ve ruled out that the leakage is really happening due to a breakage in the supply line, you can try to replace the supply line yourself with these easy steps:

  1. Start by shutting off the water supply to your toilet. Generally, you’d be able to do this by turning the valve clockwise.
  2. Next, remove the water from the tank by flushing it. You can clean the remaining water with an absorbent material like a towel.
  3. Disconnect the faulty supply line from the valve. Then, disconnect it from the fill valve on the toilet.
  4. Connect the new supply line to both valves.
  5. Now, you’re ready to turn the water back on and check if the leak problem has been solved.

The caveat: before beginning to attempt DIY, you need to be absolutely sure that the leakage is coming from the supply line. You would also need to purchase the right type of supply line for your bathroom setup.

This is where expert assistance from 1st Rooter comes in handy. With a residential plumbing expert on board, you’ll be able to get advice on what kind of supply line to get so those future leakages can be avoided. You would also be able to save yourself the time, effort, and possible doubled costs due to mistakes.

5. Damaged Toilet Tank

Damaged Toilet TankA toilet tank holds water inside it to refill the bowl again and again that the toilet uses for its flushing mechanism. If you see water floating on the floor around the commode, it could be because of a toilet leaking from the tank. It is commonly seen that toilet tank leaking happens when it is either cracked or broken.  Even hairline cracks could cause toilet leaks and these kinds of small cracks are the hardest to detect.

If you want to know how to fix a leaking toilet tank, then you can take any one of the following ways. To repair a leaking toilet base, you can replace the old toilet and install a new one. Although sealants and putty can stop the leaks temporarily, upgrading to a new toilet can protect other fixtures from getting damaged by water. 

If toilet leaking from tank bolts is the problem, then you can take the assistance of a plumber to fix them rather than changing the entire unit. Nonetheless, toilet upgradation helps to save money on water bills and other bathroom fixtures.

The good news is that with minor cracks in the toilet tank, it’s not necessary to replace the whole toilet. Toilet repairs in tank can be done with a good sealant. However, the challenge could arise when locating the crack, especially if it’s a small one. But once you’ve ruled out other possible causes for the leakage and you’ve determined where the crack is, you can try the following steps to remedy your cracked toilet tank:

  1. Start by shutting off the water supply to your toilet. Generally, you’d be able to do this by turning the valve clockwise.
  2. Next, remove the water from the tank by flushing it. You can clean out the remaining water with an absorbent material like a towel.
  3. You can use either a porcelain sealer or epoxy. Apply this over the crack. Start an inch above the crack and slowly trace through the crack, filling it with the sealer or epoxy.
  4. Smooth out the sealer with a plastic knife and let it dry for at least 24 hours. Once done, turn on the water again and check if the leak is still present.

The caveat: if you’re facing major cracks that cannot be easily fixed with a sealer or epoxy—or if your DIY fix doesn’t work—it’s time to call in the experts.

6. Cracked Connectors

Cracked ConnectorsJust like any plumbing fixture, toilets have multiple connectors that help to prevent toilet leaking. If any of these water supply connectors lose their seals, water will seep through the fixtures and float on your toilet floor. You can even detect toilet leaking at the base.

So, seek assistance from a plumber to avoid any further mishaps. Also, to avoid such a problem, routinely check the connections of your toilet to detect any issues before they crack or leak.

Most importantly, for fixing a leaky toilet, choose high-quality parts to replace the fixtures as they can improve all the oddities of future leaks. Also, you can make use of waterproof pipe repair tape to fix such problems. 

7. Fill Valve Problem / Rusted Toilet Fill Valve

Fill Valve ProblemIf you notice that your toilet tank is overflowing and it is not because of a faulty float, then the toilet fills valve leaking is the main culprit. The fill valve controls the water flow into the toilet tank when it gets paired with the float. This ensures that your toilet tank is full to the necessary level at a time. The fill valve on your toilet will go through wear and tear over time. Mineral deposits can also accumulate on it, causing damage. These issues can cause the fill valve to be unable to shut off, which can lead to a leaking toilet. When you have a rusty or damaged toilet tank fill valve, you need a replacement for it.

Replacing the fill valve on your own is not too complicated. As with the other causes of toilet leaks mentioned above, you first need to make sure that this is really the root of your leakage problem. Once other causes are ruled out, you can try to follow these steps to fix your fill valve:

  1. Start by shutting off the water supply to your toilet. Generally, you’d be able to do this by turning the valve clockwise.
  2. Next, remove the water from the tank by flushing it. You can clean out the remaining water with an absorbent material like a towel.
  3. Remove the supply line from the tank.
  4. Remove the existing fill valve.
  5. Adjust the height of the new fill valve and install it into place.
  6. Reattach the supply line to the toilet. Turn the water on once again and see if any of the previous problems persist.

Though replacing a fill valve is considered something that’s usually DIY-friendly, there are still nuances to it that may encourage you to seek expert advice. For one thing, the right experts will be able to advise you on what fill valve will last you the longest. You would also save a lot of time and effort by calling in a plumber from the start. Sometimes it is best to deal with a corroded fill valve by barring the water and taking help from a skilled plumber. 

8. Bowl Damage

Bowl DamageIf the toilet leaks when flushed, it could be because of a leaking toilet bowl. The toilet bowl is installed to hold water, but when damaged can directly drain onto the toilet floor. The toilet leaking into the bowl can be due to a faulty tank or any other reason. However, bowl damage can be due to cracks that cannot be fully sealed with glue or putty. There is more chance of unhealthy water spillage on the toilet floor. 

 If you find that the bottom of the toilet is leaking because of any structural part cracked or leaks, the best way to fix the problem is by replacing the entire toilet unit. Whether your toilet leaking from underneath or anywhere else, a leaky toilet may look like a petty issue. But, if you do not take the necessary step initially, the small things can add up to a huge cost with time. 

For instance, they can add to your water bill, destroy bathroom tiles and subfloor, and stain toilets. Moreover, accidental falls can be dangerous for you and your family. Therefore, if you can trace the toilet leaks, call a plumber to know how to fix a leaking toilet.

9. Broken Wax Seal On The Bottom Of The Toilet

Broken Wax SealThe wax seal under your toilet serves as an impermeable barrier that keeps flushed water and sewage from leaking unto the floor. A telltale sign that this is the problem behind your toilet’s leakage is that in addition to water accumulating at the base of your toilet, you may also smell a lingering, unpleasant bathroom odour. Your toilet may also wobble if this is the issue.

The most common reason for damage to your toilet’s wax seal is simply worn and torn. Every now and then though, it could need a replacement. Replacing the wax seal under your toilet is not something recommended for DIY. The process is meticulous and slight mistakes will mean you will face the same or worse problems.

This is a fairly complicated process that is best left to the pros. With an expert on the job, you’ll be sure to have the best quality wax ring installed securely and ready for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to tell if the toilet is leaking underneath?

It is really unfortunate to tell you that the signs of toilet leaking from the base usually show when things have gone worse. This means as soon as you see the toilet clogged and leaking at base, call a plumber to fix the toilet leaking from the bottom

The main signs of how to tell if the toilet is leaking underneath include a damp floor, especially around the bottom of the bathroom, an occasional odour of sewer gas, or a spongy feeling of the floor.

Apart from these, other signs of a toilet leaking include:

  • The toilet keeps making dripping noise
  • Holding the flushing handle down to empty the tank
  • Noticing water trickling from the sides of the bowl after it flushed a long time ago
  • Jerking the handle to stop running water
  • Toilet flushing continuously without even touching 
  • Silent leaks

How do you stop a leaking toilet?

To know how to fix a leaky toilet or a damaged toilet waste pipe, you should take the help of a skilled plumber. Especially leaking toilet waste pipe solutions cannot be done using DIY methods. As toilet leaks could happen because of several reasons beyond what has been listed, you need to detect the root cause to solve the problem. Suppose your toilet is leaking from the water supply line; then it may need repairing or replacement. 

Again, if the fill valve is rusted, they will need a replacement.

 Similarly, faulty float, damaged bowl, and rocking toilet may need repairing or a replacement. If your toilet is cracked, the plumber is most likely to replace the entire toilet unit. Although cracks and breaks can be repaired, a plumber needs to see them to suggest what action to take for the best course.

How much does it cost to fix a leaky toilet?

A waste pipe leaking in the toilet is not only unreasonable, but sometimes it becomes frustrating as well. Fortunately, if your toilet leaks are minor, they won’t cost you a bomb! If you do not require an entire replacement of your toilet unit, repairing water damage, or any other additional changes, you may have to pay higher charges. 

Obviously, there are numerous variables that can influence the costs of toilet repair to go up.

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