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How to Diagnose and Fix Leaking Toilets
A leaking toilet can be annoying and wasteful. To check if your toilet has a leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If coloring is seen in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. To pinpoint the leak, follow these simple steps:
Diagram of a Toilet
- If the tank is not filling with water, the flush ball is not returning to the seat properly.
- Check to see if the linkage that connects to the trip lever is hung up.
- If that doesn't work, then the ball needs to be replaced. A flapper ball can replace a worn flush valve ball.
- If the tank is full of water, and water is flowing into the overflow tube, then the valve is not shutting off correctly.
- Lift up on the float ball. If the water shuts off, then the ball is not sitting properly in the tank. This could be caused by two things:
- The ball has a leak and is full of water. Replace with another ball or flapper.
- The float ball needs adjusting. Use the screw at the base of the rod to lower the float ball so that the water level is 1/2 to 1 inch below the overflow tube.
- If water does not shut off when you lift up on the float ball, then the valve itself needs to be repaired or replaced. Repair kits and new valves with easy to follow instructions are available at local hardware stores.
- If water is not flowing into the overflow tube, but constantly runs or periodically turns on and off, the flush ball or flapper is not fitting snugly into the flush ball seat. When seats get old they get pitted and allow water to leak past the seal and down the drain. Minerals and other deposits may also build up on the seat, making it rough.
- If worn, replace the flush ball or flapper.
- If the problem persists, the seat can be cleaned with steel wool, covered with a repair seal or replaced.