A toilet leakage is among the most common toilet problems. A toilet leakage can occur at the toilet base or from the water tank to the bowl. You can fix a leaky toilet without a plumber!
No matter the type of leakage, fixing it isn’t a problem. But to do that, you will need to acquire some special tools.
Tools needed to Fix a Leaky Toilet
- Putty knife
- Rubber gloves
- Adjustable wrench
- New wax ring
- New flapper
Before you acquire these tools, you should know where the leak is coming from. If the water leaking from the toilet bottom, you may have to spend several hours fixing the toilet. But if the leak is from your toilet tank, this may take less than an hour to fix. Here is the guide that you should follow:
- 1 Tools needed to Fix a Leaky Toilet
- 2 How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Tank
- 3 How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Base
- 4 Bottom line
How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Tank
Leakage from the toilet tank to the bowl is prevalent. Since the toilet tank has many mechanical parts, it’s easier for a leak to occur inside the tank than at the toilet base. Here’s how you should handle a leakage from the tank.
Step 1: Check the float and inlet valve
The float and inlet valve controls the water level in the tank. If one of these sections is faulty, the toilet will leak. This happens because the water rises above the overflow tube and leaks into the bowl. The float works by rising with the water level and stops the inlet valve from letting the tank’s water.
To know whether it’s the float or inlet valve that has a problem, flush the toilet and observe what happens. As the water rises, lift the rod that holds the flush. If the water stops, then the float has a problem, and you need to adjust the float to correct the water level. But if the water rises too high, then the inlet valve is faulty.
Step 2: Turn off the water
If you have a bad inlet valve or float, you will have to turn off the toilet water supply at the back of the toilet before replacing them or adjusting the float. Turn the water at the back of the toilet and disconnect the water supply line. You will have to use pliers to loosen the lock nut. Next, flush the toilet and drain all the water in the tank using a sponge or cloth.
If the inlet valve is bad, you will have to replace it with a new one. You have to find the right match for your toilet for a smooth operation.
Step 3: Adjust the float
After inspecting the inlet valve and float, you should try to adjust the float. That’s if the inlet valve and float are in perfect condition. Check the rod connecting the inlet valve and float and see whether it’s bent or straight. If it’s bent, straighten it and see whether the water stops flowing through the inlet valve. You should also try adjusting the float level and see whether the leakage from the tank stops.
Step 4: Inspect the flapper
After inspecting the float and inlet valve, your toilet should be fine. But if it’s not, you should examine the flapper next. A flapper can also cause leakage if it’s not seated correctly or worn out. Check the chain connecting the flapper and ensure it’s of the right height. If it’s short or long, you should adjust it to the recommended height.
If you adjust the chain connecting the flapper and the issue persists, you should inspect the flapper. An ideal flapper should not harden, and it should be correctly positioned. If the flapper is hard, you will have to buy a new one. But if it’s out of position, you should adjust it.
Related article: Change a toilet fill valve easily with some simple tricks
Step 5: Replace the bad flapper
You cannot repair a bad flapper. The best solution for a bad flapper is to replace it with a new one. Turn the water off and drain the remaining water. Check and see whether the flapper has debris and wipe it off. If it has cracks or a hard feel, replace it with a new one. With these steps, you will be able to solve the leakage from your toilet tank to the bowl.
How to Fix a Leaking Toilet Base
A leak from the toilet base is more cumbersome to fix than a leak from the toilet tank. Therefore, you will have to exercise patience when fixing such type of a leak. Here’s what you have to do:
Step 1: Tighten bolts
In some cases, tightening the bolts that hold the toilet on the surface can stop the leak. Thus, it would help if you started by removing the plastic covers from the bolts on both sides of the toilet. Use a wrench to fasten the bolts and see whether the issue is solved. Flush the toilet and see if the leak has disappeared. If the toilet is still leaking, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Remove the toilet
To remove the toilet, you will start by turning off the water at the back of the toilet. Disconnect the water supply and the tank. You can now disconnect the bowl and get rid of the outdated wax ring. Place a cloth in the drain hole to avoid a bad smell coming through from the sewerage system.
Step 3: Replace wax ring
Throw away the faulty or ineffective wax ring and replace it with a new one. Note that some toilets come with a wax ring and you won’t have to buy a new one, more so if the toilet is new. Before installing the new wax ring, make sure to clean the flange, as the old wax ring may leave behind a grimy residue. If it seems faulty, you had better replace the toilet flange before installing the new wax ring. Always wear gloves when working on your toilet.
Step 4: Re-install the toilet
Install the new wax ring and re-install the toilet. Lift the toilet carefully and ensure the bolts enter through the holes without damaging the porcelain. Press the toilet using your hands so that the wax ring can seal properly. Fasten the bolts and re-install the toilet tank. Additionally, you should reconnect the water supply and turn on the water. Test and see if the problem is gone.
Related article: How to drain water from toilet tank and bowl?
You can now relax as your leakage problem has been solved. This procedure also applies to toilet leakage at the base caused by a cracked bowl. The difference is that you will have to buy a new toilet bowl.
A toilet leak can cause your water bill to rise exponentially. If you realize that you have a leakage in your toilet, you should fix it right away. You don’t need to contact a professional plumber as both a leak in the toilet tank and the toilet base are easily fixable. Make sure to assemble the right tools so that you can have an easy time repairing your toilet.
Still, have questions after reading this How to Fix a Leaky Toilet article? Comment below.
Hi, this is Robert Crossan, the owner of this website, has 17 years of experience in the installation, maintenance, and repair of toilets and plumbing systems. After completing the Level 2 Basic Plumbing course in 2005, I started working in both domestic and commercial buildings as a professional plumber. So I can figure out the core difference between different toilet models and brands. It also helped me monitor their work performance and setbacks.