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Signs And Sounds Of A Leaky Toilet: Tips For Stemming The Water Flow

One of the most common sources of water leaks in the bathroom is the toilet. If your toilet is running or leaking, you'll need to address it right away. The wasted water can cost you significantly in your monthly water bills, and it could be a sign of more serious plumbing issues. Here's a look at two of the most common issues you can experience with your toilet and what you should do about them.

Leaky, Hissing Toilet

Not only is the sound of a hissing toilet annoying, but it could also indicate the presence of a leak that can cost you several gallons of water every day. If you're hearing intermittent hissing from your toilet, it could be an indication that the water level is too high. If it is, adjust the clip on the ballcock link to stop it from filling.

Another reason for the hissing sound is water leaking into the flood pipe. If this is happening, you'll need to check the fill stopper or possibly replace the ballcock. If you suspect the presence of a leak, the best way to confirm it quickly is to put a few drops of liquid food coloring into the tank. Check the toilet bowl after a few minutes to see if the water in the bowl becomes tinted. If color appears in the bowl, you'll need to replace the flapper valve at the bottom of the toilet tank.

Replacing the Flapper Valve

Start by turning off the water supply valve for the toilet. You can find this on the floor near the base of the toilet or on the wall just below the tank. Turn the knob clockwise to close the valve. This turns off the water that's flowing to the toilet. If it's stuck or hard to turn, you may need to replace the gasket in the valve once you break it free.

Remove the tank cover. Flush the toilet to draw out the water that's in the tank. Disconnect the chain from the flush lever and flapper. You should be able to just unclip the chain from each side. Pull the flapper out of the overflow tube by lifting it straight up. Then, place the new flapper over the tube and push it down to the bottom of the tank. Make sure it's centered to cover the whole valve opening on the bottom of the tank.

Connect the chain that came with the new flapper by clipping it to the flush lever and the flapper in the same place where you disconnected the old one. Turn the water back on by turning the valve counter-clockwise.

Flush the toilet to test the way that the new flapper works. Watch to ensure that the handle is pulling the flapper up high enough to clear the bottom valve. Then, watch the flapper settle back into place to be sure that it seals around the valve after flushing.

Leaky Wax Seal

At the base of every toilet is a wax ring that creates a seal between the toilet and the floor. The ring sits around the pipe that connects to the toilet. If the wax ring starts to dry, it will leak. This type of leak can cause serious damage to the sub-flooring and your floor. One of the clearest signs of a leaky wax ring is the accumulation of water around the base of the toilet that can't be traced back to condensation.

If the toilet is located on an upper story, look at the ceiling of the room directly beneath it. A leaky wax ring will cause moisture buildup in the floor that can cause water to seep into the ceiling underneath. If you see any of these signs, you'll want to talk to a plumber to replace the wax ring properly and restore the seal.

When your toilet is leaking, whether from the tank or the wax ring, it can cost you money in lost water and may cause you costly structural damage in your house. With the information presented here, you can detect some of the most common leak problems and restore your toilet's proper function right away. For more information, contact local plumbing contractors