If your toilet is giving you trouble, it's important that you identify the problem and correct it right away, not only for the sake of your water bill, but also to protect the stability and integrity of the flooring beneath it. If you aren't familiar with the most common causes of toilet trouble read more below. Here are a couple of things that you should check.
The Wax Ring
There is a wax ring in place around the pipe that's connected to the base of your toilet. If that ring dries out, it will cause the toilet to leak. There are a few telltale signs of wax ring problems, including water pooling around the base of the toilet. If there's no visible condensation on the tank or the toilet bowl, there's a good chance that the water's coming from around the wax ring.
If your bathroom is on an upper floor, you might even notice water spots on the ceiling of the room that's right underneath it. Water will accumulate around the wax ring and soak into the floor, which will then ultimately saturate the ceiling underneath it. Although you can remove the toilet yourself to replace the ring, you may find it easier to have this type of repair done by a plumbing professional.
The Flapper Valve
The flapper valve sits at the base of the toilet tank and blocks the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. If it is leaking, you'll hear a periodic hissing noise from the toilet as the water runs through. This can cost you significantly in your water bill, as the excess water consumption will add up quickly. If you're hearing these types of noises from your toilet, you should check the flapper.
If you suspect that it's leaking, you can confirm it by putting some food coloring into your toilet tank. Watch the water in the toilet bowl for a little while to see if the color starts to seep through. If you see color come through into the toilet bowl, that's a sure sign that you need to replace the flapper.
How to Replace the Valve
Before you can replace the flapper, you'll have to close the water valve to shut off the water. The valve is usually near the floor, at the base of the toilet tank. Once the water's shut off, flush the toilet to empty the water from the tank. Then, unhook the chain from the flapper and the flush lever by lifting it straight up off the hook.
Pull the flapper up out of the tank and replace it with a new one. When you insert the new flapper, center it over the hole so that it sits in the opening properly. This is essential to ensure that the flapper seals and blocks the water flow. Then, reconnect the chain to the flush lever and hook the other end to the new flapper. Restore the water flow by turning the water valve counter-clockwise. Then, wait for the tank to start filling. As the tank fills, the new flapper should settle into place, sealing around the hole. Finally, you'll want to flush the toilet once and make sure that it's filling properly.
A leaking toilet can be more than just a frustration – it can be an expensive problem. With the tips presented here, you can narrow down two of the most primary causes of leaks and toilet problems. Talk with a local plumber if you can't fix the problem on your own, and he or she can inspect your toilet and help you not only confirm the source of the problem and repair it.