Why is My Toilet Leaking and How to Fix It

A homeowner flushing a leaking toilet in Charleston, SC.

A leaky toilet, like most plumbing issues, happens when you least expect it. You might have woken up one day, stepped into your bathroom, and completely soaked your slippers in water leaking from your toilet’s base. Or your toilet is leaking internally, which is when your toilet continuously runs or drips. So, how do you fix a leaking toilet?

Before learning exactly how to fix a leaking toilet, it’s essential to know precisely why your toilet is leaking at its base or internally. We’ll go over six common types of leaks and discuss how to fix them.

1. Damaged Flapper

While a damaged flapper (or flush valve) is one of the most common leaks, it’s undoubtedly one of the hardest to detect. A flapper’s main job is to prevent water in the tank from entering the toilet bowl. However, water will leak into the toilet bowl and fill up your tank if the toilet’s ball valve or flapper cannot form a seal.

To check for this leak, simply remove the toilet tank lid and let the tank refill. Then, squeeze food coloring into the bowl after the tank is filled with water. If you notice any food coloring in the bowl after about 20 minutes of waiting, then you know there’s a leak.

Luckily, you can use a toilet repair kit to replace a damaged flush valve/flapper.

2. Broken Fill Valve

Before panicking about how to fix your leaking toilet, consider the possibility of a broken fill valve. This type of leak results from your toilet’s float being set too high and the shut-off valve not closing as it should.

To fix this, first, make sure to reset the toilet’s tank water to a low level. Then, for a float cup valve, pinch the clip and move the clip down the length of the rod. For a float ball valve, bend the float arm down to lower the current water level.

3. Stuck Flapper

When you flush the toilet, does the handle feel limp? An inactive handle could mean that the flapper is jammed in the opposite direction. If this happens, water will freely flow into your tank with no end.

To check, lift the toilet lid off the tank; the chain might have slipped out of place. If this is the case, then readjust the chain onto the flushing handle.

4. Toilet Bowl Cracks

Why is your toilet leaking at its base? Look to your toilet bowl. While bowl cracks can start small, they can certainly worsen over time.

5. Old Pipes

While your toilet is often built to last long, your pipes might have a shorter lifespan. If your toilet’s pipes are old, there’s a chance that rust has developed. Rusty pipes can lead to cracks within the pipes, which can eventually result in toilet leaks.

To replace your pipes or entire plumbing system, contact a LimRic plumber in Johns Island or the surrounding areas immediately so we can help you prevent additional cracks from forming.

6. Loose Connection

To understand why your toilet is leaking at its base, you should first understand how the different parts of your toilet attach to each other. Gaskets and other sealed parts connect your toilet’s tank and bowl. If you find water around the base of your toilet bowl, then a part connecting your tank and bowl might be loose.

You can replace these parts to stop leaks and prevent further water damage.

7. Worn Toilet Base Seal

A worn toilet base seal could also be the reason why your toilet is leaking at its base.

The bolts connecting your toilet to the floor might have loosened or lost their seal. You can use a putty knife to take off the bolt caps at the base of your toilet, then retighten each bolt with a wrench.

If tightening the bolts doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to replace your toilet’s wax ring. To replace the wax ring, you will need to turn off the water supply to your toilet. Then, remove the toilet to access and replace the wax ring. This repair is best left to a professional plumber.

Contact a Professional

Now that you know how to fix a leaking toilet, you might be feeling overwhelmed. The team at LimRic is here to help. Our technicians are available to help with clogged toilets and other plumbing issues. We also offer drain cleaning in Charleston and the surrounding area.

For more information about our professional plumbing services or to schedule a service, contact LimRic today!