Toilet Leaking? Do This First

A toilet leaking in your home can feel like an albatross around your neck. While it may not necessarily require an epic poem to be written about your struggles, toilet issues certainly weigh you down in a way that most things in life just won’t.

Part of the reason why a leaking toilet can be such a downer is because a large percentage of us just don’t know how best to address the issue. Unless we were given a crash-course in plumbing as kids, we just don’t have the know-how. It’s also frustrating because when you consider what a toilet really is in terms of its parts, there’s nothing to it. You’re looking at a big hunk of porcelain with only a few moving parts inside the tank. And yet, finding a toilet leak can be like trying to find the Fountain of Youth.

It’s important to remain calm. No good can come from working aggressively or scatterbrained. A toilet leaking doesn’t have to hurt your relationship with your family. The first thing you must do is turn off the water to the toilet. The water in the toilet is actually helpful because it gives you something you can use to find the leak. Also, you’re trying to avoid water damage as even the smallest leak can lead to big structural issues if ignored long enough. In some extreme cases, you may need to shut-off the water to the entire house. Whether it’s to the toilet or to the house, you want to be sure you know how to shut the water off before you have a problem. That’s the type of “learning on the job” you want to avoid.

Grab a flashlight and start inspecting the toilet. Have some towels around to help keep things as dry as possible while you get on the floor to really inspect the nooks and crannies of your toilet. Make a slow path from top to bottom or vice-versa. Check the water supply line connection as it meets the toilet tank, and then check the line as it meets the wall at supply valve. Maybe the actual problem area is the point where the fixture is connected at the floor to the toilet anchor flange (closet flange). The wax ring seal may need replacing.

Finally, the toilet leaking issue is acknowledged & identified, and it seems as though you could probably fix the leak yourself. Or can you? As a homeowner, it’s your job to do the best you can for your home, and sometimes this means getting a professional tradesman involved. The last thing you want to do is make an issue worse, and if your toilet is leaking, you want to keep it at only that and nothing more. What’s more, a professional plumber can take the information you provide (based on your inspection), and use it to help pinpoint the problem & make the necessary repair Having a professional plumber help out is also great because if they run into a snag, they have the knowledge and experience to find their way out of the bind & keep moving forward. You might not be as lucky.

Just remember that if you have a toilet leaking, don’t ignore it. Do what you can to help the situation, and always be ready to call a reliable plumber to make sure the job is done right the first time.