You may not know it, but a leaky toilet could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year in water bills. It is estimated that about 15% to 20% of all toilets spring leaks at one time or another, and more than that of you live in an old home. It could be as a result of faulty valves, corrosion, faulty flappers or more. Leaky toilets are a bit harder to detect than leaky taps – the leak springs from the cistern and into the bowl. In rare case the leak can end up on the floor. Your toilet can be leaking for months before you realize it, but there is a simple test that you can perform to determine whether you have a problem or not. Simply put a bit of dye in the cistern and then wait for about 20 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes color then it is proof that you have a leaky toilet and it is time for toilet repair.
Sometimes the problem is quite simple and with a few DIY steps you can fix it yourself. You should start by looking for the source of the leak. This is a very important step. If you proceed to try and do repairs before you determine where the leak is coming from you could make the problem worse. Determining the source of the leak will require some patience and observation on your part. The first place you should check is the nuts that connect the tank or cistern to the bowl – this is one of the most common reasons why toilets leaks. If these nuts have come lose the tank is no longer held in place, but if you tighten them the problem should disappear. If the nuts are old and rusty you may want to replace them with new ones. Shut of the source of water into the tank, take out one of the nuts and take it to your local repair parts supplier so that you can get the exact same nuts.
Sometimes the problem is the washers – these are made of material that eventually wears out and dries so it is no longer able to keep water in place. Replacing washers is not very hard. You will need to remove the nuts that hold the washer in place and then take the washer out and replace it with a new one. Another common reason for a leaky toilet the float – it is used to keep the cistern from overfilling, and if it is lose or too long you will have water spilling to the floor. Fortunately this one is also simple to fix – using an adjustable wrench make sure that the ball is tightly in place and if the arm is too long shorten it and then screw it back in. Be careful not to make it too short otherwise no water will flow into your cistern.
If you are not very good with Do-it-Yourself projects this may all sound like more than you are willing to handle, so it is best to call in a toilet repair professional. A good plumber will diagnose and fix the problem in no time at all.
It is good practice to call in a toilet repair plumber for maintenance at least once a year – it ensures that all the toilets in your home are in good order at all times, and there is no risk of leaks.