Toilet Leaking? Tips to Find Out for Sure

If you’re trying to conserve water in your home, a toilet leak could be detrimental to your efforts. Repairing a leaky toilet is simple, but you want to know for sure that you have a leak on your hands before you go to the trouble of installing a new flapper. Here’s how to detect a toilet leak so you can fix the problem and avoid wasting water.

“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 for just a moment despite the fact that no one has touched the handle. When the float inside the tank drops an inch or so, the pump turns on to refill the water lost through a leaky flapper.

Long Run Time

Another sign your flapper might not be tight is if the water runs for longer than usual after flushing the toilet. 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, it could be time to replace the flapper or adjust the chain.

Less Obvious Leaks

Sometimes, leaks are slow and nearly undetectable. You can easily check for them with this test:

  • Lift the lid off the toilet tank.
  • Flush the toilet to ensure a good starting point to test the leak.
  • Once the flush cycle is finished, place several drops of dark food coloring, such as red or green, 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 bowl. If the water has adopted some of the food coloring from the tank, a slow leak allowed it to seep into the bowl.
  • Complete this experiment on every toilet in your home.
  • Buy the flappers you need for your repairs at a hardware store. Bring the old flapper with you to make sure you pick the correct replacement.

If your toilet is getting old and causing other problems, a leak may be the final straw. Consider an energy efficient model if you decide to replace the toilet. For more do-it-yourself plumbing solutions, please contact Day & Knight Plumbing & Heating today.

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