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How to Test if Your Toilet is Leaking

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 10.13.36 AM
DIY September 16, 2019
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A leaking toilet tank is a common problem that could be costing you a lot of money on your water bill. Unlike faucets or showerheads, a leaking toilet can easily waste dozens of gallons of water each day. A moderate leak may add as much as $70 to your bill monthly, while a severe leak can send that number skyrocketing to $200 per month or even more. 


The good news is that this problem is fixable and it’s unlikely you’ll have to buy a whole new toilet or even pay a high price for repairs. You can perform your own simple test at home to detect if your toilet is leaking, and you may even be able to fix the problem on your own. 

Signs of a Toilet Leak


The most common symptom of a leaking toilet is noise. If you can hear your toilet running when it’s not in use, that’s a pretty obvious sign that something’s amiss. More obvious signs include water damage around the toilet or even seeing water leak from the tank. 

How to Test for a Toilet Leak


If you’re hearing suspicious water sounds, you’ll want to investigate further. The easiest way to test for a leak in your toilet tank is to place 10 or 15 drops of food coloring in the water of your tank. Wait for about ten minutes and then look into the bowl. If the food coloring has made its way into the water in the bowl, then you’ve definitely got a leak. Most commonly, leaks are located around the plunger ball or flapper valve, which are located at the bottom of the tank. 

How to Fix a Toilet Leak


The hands-off approach is to call a plumber, but doing so will likely be more expensive than necessary. Once you’ve identified where the leak in your toilet is coming from, fixing the problem is as simple as replacing or fixing the part. The common culprits are the following:


  • Flapper valve
  • Plunger ball
  • Refill tube
  • Float cup
  • Chain
  • Gasket


Before you dive into your tank with a pair of rubber gloves, first turn off the water at the shutoff valve. This is typically located below the tank. Next drain the tank of water by flushing it and using a towel or sponge to absorb any water that remains. Now you’ll be free to work on your toilet without making a mess and wasting even more water. 


If you can’t seem to identify the source of the leak or repairs become difficult, you may want to call in a professional. While toilet leaks are usually easy fixes, that’s not always the case. 

Monitor Your Water Usage


You might not always be aware of leaks or water inefficiencies in your toilet or your home’s plumbing at large. For a system that gives you comprehensive data on your water usage and monitors closely for leaks both big and small, install Flo by Moen.

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