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Toilet Leak Detection Tips

Ever walk into your bathroom and find your toilet surrounded by a small puddle of water?  It’s not fun.  If you can’t even figure out where the leak is coming from, you’re really going to be in hot water (or cold, smelly water).  Here’s how to figure out where the toilet leak is coming from, so you can identify the problem and either solve it yourself, or be able to tell your plumber exactly what the problem is, so he can give you a more accurate free estimate over the phone.

The most common leaks come from the wax seal, the supply tube connection, or the bowl-tank connection.

If the toilet is surrounded by a pool of water, or if the room seems dry but the ceiling below is leaking, it could be a leak in the wax seal.  Leaks in the wax seal cannot be fixed – you have to replace it by installing a new wax ring and t-bolts.

If it’s a leak in the connection from the tank to the bowl, you need to determine exactly where the leak originates.  If the toilet leaks continuously, with no regard to being recently flushed or not, it might be a crack in the tank.  Dry off the outside of the tank, and try to feel for hairline fractures.  This is fixed by either replacing the entire toilet, or if it’s a newer model, just the toilet tank.  If you can’t find a crack anywhere on the tank, it may not be a leak, only condensation, and you’re in luck!  The problem can be solved with only a thin Styrofoam lining, available at your local hardware store.  You may not even need to call a plumber for that one.

Check the supply tube for possible leaks as well.  The supply tube could have sprung a leak at any point along the entire tube, so check it carefully.  Don’t forget to check it’s connection to the toilet tank as well as where it connects to the wall for possible damage that could be leaking.

One of the most common types of toilet leaks is a steady drip or stream from the tank to the bowl.  This will not cause damage, or even a mess, but it wastes water, and besides a negative impact on the environment, could cause massive water bills.  A leak from the tank to the toilet is caused by a problem with the seal inside the tank called a flapper.  Most flappers are interchangeable, though American Standard has their own unique kind.  The way to test this is by dropping a few drops of food coloring into the tank, and watching to see if the color makes its way into the bowl.  If it does, you can tell your plumber you have a leaky flapper.  He’ll know what you mean.

As always, call The Home Fixers if you need a licensed contractor for your bathroom.