Wasting water can be costly and it is interesting to know that of all wasted water in residential buildings the culprit is your toilet.
The good news is fixing a leaking toilet does not need to cost a lot and most people can do this themselves with only a few simple tools. When you are done you will have a toilet that works better and gets clogged less often and you will save money on your monthly water bill.
Today’s toilets come in a variety of designs but most of them follow the same simple method of storing and delivering water as they have for over a hundred years.
The basic Toilet design includes:
A water supply line to get water to the fixture
A water waste line to take water and waste out of your home.
A seat and bowl for comfort.
A water tank to store water in a large quantity to provide good flow during flushing.
A valve that senses the height of the water in the tank and turns it off automatically.
A flapper in the bottom of the storage bowl to release the tank water into the bowl activated by a handle.
There are two places that water will leak from your toilet and not cause a large amount of water to be deposited on your bathroom floor. Obviously if you see a leak in the supply line feeding your tank you know you need to replace or fix that.
The valve that senses the height of the water in your tank uses a float that lifts a lever as the water height approaches the top of the bowl. There is an overflow tube that allows water to flow through your toilet in case this float is malfunctioning or set at the wrong height. This is so the tank won’t fill up and overflow into your bathroom if it malfunctions while you are away.
If you hear your toilet continuously running then it is most likely this valve that has gone bad but it could be the flapper in the bottom of the tank leaking.
The flapper is the second place that water could leak. When water leaks from a poorly seated flapper you will hear your toilet running as in the first problem where the valve is bad… and you will see water running in the bowl of your toilet (where you sit).
However the leak could be so slow that you may see water movement but not hear the valve opening to let more water into the holding tank.
Inspection of Leaking Toilet
So now that we know it is either the valve or the flapper the inspection is very easy.
If you see water running in your toilet bowl where you sit … then the flapper needs to be cleaned, adjusted or replaced.
If you do not see water running then the valve needs to be adjusted or replaced.. You can not easily repair a valve and they cost under $20 often only $10 so just replace it if you can not adjust the height.
Universal toilet repair kits like shown above can be used to fix most toilets that are not specialized. If you live a little way from town it is not a bad idea to pick one of these kits up and keep it in your garage. Over 10 years or so you are likely to need it before the rubber parts would break down.
Heck its not a bad idea if you live in town to buy a backup universal kit because you know your toilet is going to break in the middle of the night or on a holiday just to spite you…
You can also buy them online and in our store.
If you have a specialized toilet like a air assist toilet expect to order the parts when you need them. Most home centers won’t have your parts in stock and if they did carry parts for specialized units they would change them every couple years meaning if your unit is older .. you are going to need to order parts online or from the manufacturer.