Stop wasting water and catch leaks before water can cause major damage. If undetected, leaks can rot wood or damage ceilings if toilets are located above the first floor.
Look for signs of water running in the toilet bowl when it is not in use, sometimes you can see it. Another method is to drop a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank, wait 10 minutes, if the color of the water in the toilet bowl changes or if the water is moving you likely need to replace the flush valve (or flapper). It is not a difficult task, however if you are not a handy person, you should call a plumber for repairs.
There are a number of signs that a toilet needs some repairs, but many toilets leak without conspicuous indications of trouble. Here are some of the more obvious signs of a leaking toilet:
* If you have to jiggle the handle to make a toilet stop running.
* Any sounds coming from a toilet that is not being used are sure signs of leaks.
* If you have to hold the handle down to allow the tank to empty. This can also mean the chain or strap is too long and doesn’t lift the flapper or ball high enough to float on its own.
* If you see water running over the top of the overflow, you definitely have a leaking refill valve. If you are unsure whether or not water is running over the top of the overflow pipe; sprinkle talcum powder on top of the water in the tank, and you can clearly see whether or not it is. A student of Toiletology 101 recently e-mailed me that he sprinkled talcum powder on top of the water in the bowl and it clearly will show water leaking into the bowl.
* If you can see water trickling down the sides of the toilet bowl long after it’s been flushed;
* If water drips out of the refill tube into the overflow pipe;
* If a toilet turns the water on for 15 seconds or so without you touching the handle, this is otherwise known as the phantom flusher
It’s not enough to just know your toilet is leaking; you also need to know what part is leaking. Here’s a list of the most common places inside the tank that can leak into the bowl..
A worn out flapper or ball.
A damaged seat under the flapper.
A damaged gasket under the flush valve.
A hole or crack in the overflow tube.
A refill valve (ballcock) that needs a new seat or washer.