Fixing your Home’s Leaking Toilet

leaking toiletDealing with a leaking toilet is never a fun situation for anyone who has to deal with it. It’s often a big mess, and if you don’t know much about plumbing, you often don’t know where to start to fix the problem. While we can’t help you out with the mess, we might be able to help you identify what the problem with your toilet and how you should go about fixing your leaking toilet.

Shut the Water Off

As any plumber would do, before you perform any repairs on the toilet, you should make sure that their is no source of water going to the toilet. Many toilets will have a shutoff valve near the base of the toilet where you can do that. If it doesn’t have one, you will need to shut the water supply off to your home. Once there is no more source of water supply for your toilet, flush it a few times to empty the tank of water. You may also want to take a sponge and soak up the remaining water inside the toilet bowl.

Next you have to see if you can determine where the water was leaking from. Likely it was from the top of the tank, the bottom of the tank, or from the base of the toilet. You can usually figure this out by checking to see if the sides of the toilet are dry or not. Or, you can clean up the water around the toilet, and the wait to see where the source of the problem is.

Over the Top

According to Blakeslee & Son, which provides plumbing in Grand Rapids, if you were hearing a gurgling noise coming from the top of the toilet’s tank, the tank was likely too full with water. If you have a toilet that uses a float-ball mechanism system to shut off the supply of water, it is likely set too high. Bend the rod slightly to lower the ball to the right level. If you have a floating-cup ball system, the cup rises with the water level and hits a wire that shuts off the supply of water. You can lower the wire by squeezing a clip that holds the cup to the wire and slide it to a lower level – thus lowering the tank’s water level. If the ball cock is the issue, you can simply purchase a new one for under $10 at a hardware store.

From the Bottom of the Tank

If  the tank is leaking form the bottom of the tank, there is likely something wrong with the system that connects the toilet bowl to the tank. Quite often bolts will become rusted, the rubber between the bolts will break down, and the tank will slowly and steadily leak. You can fix this yourself by buying a kit that has the necessary parts to repair your toilet. You can usually find your toilet’s type by checking the inside of the tank or along the side of the toilet bowl. From there, follow the instructions labeled on the kit, or you can follow the instructions in this video below.

From the Bottom of the Bowl

If the toilet is leaking from the bottom of the bowl, a worn out wax ring is likely the source of the problem. Remove the hex nuts oh either side of the toilet, and then carefully lift the entire toilet from the floor and turn it on its side. Use a putty knife or a kitchen knife to remove the old wax ring from under the toilet, and remove any leftover wax from the flange as well. Apply the new wax ring to either the bottom of the toilet or to the flange and put the toilet upright and back into place. Screw the hex nuts back on, and be careful not to crack the porcelain by screwing them on too tightly.

If none of those methods works after you tried them out, it’s time to call up a plumber. The last thing you want is damages done to your flooring and walls, or mold or mildew to set in from ignoring the issue for too long. Best of luck with your do it yourself at home plumbing adventure!

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