Is Your Toilet Leaking? Use These Tips to Find Out for Sure

A leaky toilet is irritating and wasteful. The leak may cause “phantom flushes,” make the toilet run longer than necessary, and waste water without your knowledge. Do you have a leak? If you’re not sure, it’s time to find out.

“Phantom Flushes”

The most obvious way to tell if your toilet is leaking is to listen for phantom flushes. This is when the toilet runs briefly, even though no one has touched the handle. Phantom flushes occur when the float inside the tank drops about an inch, and the pump turns on to refill the water.

Long Run Times

Another sign of a leaky toilet is if the water runs longer than usual after flushing it. This may indicate a poorly aligned flapper that lets water continue to rush to the bowl even after the flushing cycle should be complete. If you often have to jiggle the handle to get the flapper to rest properly over the opening, you may need to replace the flapper or adjust the chain.

Slow Leak into the Bowl

Sometimes, leaks are so slow, they are nearly undetectable. You can easily check for a leaky toilet with this test:

  • Remove the toilet tank lid.
  • Flush the toilet to assure a good starting point for your test.
  • Once the flush cycle is complete, place four or five drops of dark food coloring into the tank.
  • Wait about half an hour and make sure no one uses the toilet during that time.
  • Return to the bathroom and examine the toilet bowl. If the water is colored, this means there’s a slow leak between the tank and the bowl.

Leaky Toilet Base

It’s not uncommon for water to drip onto the bathroom floor. If you see a puddle near the toilet, you might wonder if that’s all it is, or if the toilet base is leaking. To double-check, wipe up all the existing water, and then leave paper towels on the floor around the toilet.

Next, wait to see if any water makes an appearance. If not, flush the toilet to see if that triggers something. Using paper towels helps you discover where the leak is coming from before the water settles at the lowest point of gravity on the bathroom floor.

Leaky Shut-off Valve

Every toilet has a water supply hose leading to the wall behind it with a shut-off valve attached. This hose and valve connection can start to leak onto the floor, especially if you fiddle with the valve for the first time in years. To prevent this, we recommend holding the stem that anchors the pipe to the wall firmly in one hand while turning the valve with the other.

Bob Hoegler Plumbing can repair your toilet to eliminate these leaks. However, if your toilet is getting old and causing other problems, a leak may be the final straw. If so, consider installing a high-efficiency model with our help. Contact us at 732-521-0133 today to learn more!