Protect Your Home From Water Leaks
Prevent catastrophic damage and high water bills
How to Address and Repair Leaky Toilets
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Flooded basements and moisture where it shouldn’t be are obvious signs of a leak. However, leaks that can go easily undetected can be just as, if not more, costly to your wallet. If your toilet is flushing for no reason or you hear a constant stream of water, you may have an issue with the flapper in your toilet. If you suspect you have a leak related to your toilet flapper, it could be from a variety of reasons.
ISSUES WITH THE FLAPPER:
Your flush valve may be corroded or incorrectly fitted. Regardless of the material, a flush valve can break down over time. Run your fingers along the seat rim to feel for gaps or nicks that signify the valve should be replaced. If you have a flapper pipe adaptor, a gap in the back half of the flapper likely means you should replace it with a flexible frame.
Your chain may be the incorrect length. If the chain attached to the flapper is getting stuck underneath, trim it to have ¼” to ½” slack. Measure it beforehand so that you don’t trim the chain too taut.
Your flapper may be aged. If your flapper is 5 years or older, it’s at the point where it should be replaced. Don’t waste time tinkering with an old piece of hardware, as flappers typically only cost $5-10.
TROUBLESHOOT YOUR TANK FOR FAST & SLOW LEAKS:
Dyes can be added to the tank to identify fast leaks. To identify a slow leak, turn the water off with a full tank in the toilet. Make pencil marks in the tank as the water level goes down until it completely stops, signifying where the leak is occurring.
If the water stops just below the flapper, the issue is likely one of those mentioned above.
If the water completely drains from the tank, the gasket that serves to seal the flush valve onto the tank is likely worn down and needs replacing.
If your toilet is newer and leaks at a flush valve gasket, tighten it no more than a half turn beyond hand-tight.
OTHER PROBLEM AREAS:
Bolts. Leaks between the bowl and tank are typically caused by loose or faulty bolts. Tighten the bolts individually a little at a time until the leak stops. If it does not, then replace the bolts with brass ones and new washers.
Refill tube. If the refill tube is too far into the overflow pipe, water might be siphoning from that area.
Overflow pipe or tank. Over time, cracks can occur in the plastic of the overflow pipe or the ceramic of the tank. These both require replacements.
Shank washer. If water is leaking near the fill valves shank, shut off the water. If the leak stops you can try replacing the supply line. If it continues, try with your hand to tighten the fill valves lock nut slightly. If neither option works, remove the fill valve and replace the shank washer.
Tank lever. Your overflow pipe should rest 1 inch or more below the tank lever. If it is incorrectly cut or placed, you may see a leak from the tank lever.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
When this part becomes older and more flexible, it allows water to leak into the bowl and down the drain, causing a continuous cycle of hidden costs. Because a toilet flapper leak is typically contained to your toilet, it may not be immediately obvious something is wrong. An issue with your toilet flapper can cause a constant stream of water. If left unaddressed, it could cost you thousands of dollars on your bill, while wasting dozens and dozens of gallons of water per day.
HOW TO PREVENT THEM?
While a new flapper or similar part runs very cheap, finding the leak too late can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars. A whole home leak detection system identifies when water is running continuously for an extended period of time and automatically shuts off your water. If you have an issue like an eroded toilet flapper that runs continuously, this system would detect that and prevent it. This system works with small and large leaks alike and can prevent you from losing hundreds to thousands of dollars in damaged property and water bills.