Tape leaking water

Have you found a toilet leak in your home? There are three tests that you can try to see if a toilet is leaking. It is good practice to check your toilets, taps, washing machine, etc. on a regular basis. Leaky toilets are often the cause of high-water bills and could waste more than 450 liters of water a day.

 Signs of a leaking toilet

  • You must wiggle the handle to make a toilet stop running
  • You hear sounds from an unused toilet
  • You must hold the handle down to allow the tank to empty
  • You see water running over the top of the overflow inside the tank cover. This is a sign that the refill valve is leaking or needs adjustment. You can sprinkle a little talcum powder on top of the water in the tank to see if the water is running over the top of the overflow pipe
  • You see water dripping down the sides inside of the toilet bowl long after it has been flushed
  • Water drops out of the refill tube into the overflow pipe
  • A toilet runs or refills without you touching the handle
If your toilet shows none of the symptoms above, it could still have a silent leak, causing a high-water bill.

Test your toilet for a leak

There are three (3) tests that determine if your toilet is leaking:

 The Dye Test

  1. Remove the toilet tank cover and set it aside
  2. Remove any ‘in-tank’ bowl cleaners that colour the water
  3. Begin the test with clear water in the tank and bowl
  4. Place enough food colouring or instant coffee in the tank’s water to get a deep colour
  5. Wait 30 minutes. Your toilet is leaking if the dyed water has made its way into the toilet bowl. A proper operating toilet will store water in the tank without water running into the bowl.
If the dye test shows the toilet is leaking, the diagnostic test can identify which part of the tank is affected and needs repair.

 The Diagnostic Test

  1. Draw a pencil line on the back wall inside the toilet tank at the waterline
  2. Turn the water supply off, either under the toilet tank or at the main shutoff
  3. Wait 20 to 30 minutes. If the water level remains at the pencil mark, the leak is likely occurring at the fill valve or ballcock (the unit on the left side of the tank with the float attached). If the water level falls below the pencil mark, the leak is likely occurring in the flapper valve (the unit located in the bottom center of the tank)
In most cases, the flapper valve is usually the cause of leaking toilets.

 The Night to Morning Read Test

  1. Turn the water off to the toilet before going to bed. If you must use the toilet during the night, fill a bucket with water and dump the entire bucket of water into the toilet bowl.
  2. Check the water level in the morning. If the water level is lower or even with the edges of the tank flapper, the leak is caused by either a bad flapper valve or a damaged toilet flapper valve seat. If the tank is almost empty and the water level is below the edges of the toilet valve seat, the leak may be caused by a damaged gasket under the flapper valve. In this case, the leak can appear on the floor around the base of the toilet. The toilet tank will have to be separated from the toilet bowl to change the gasket.

 Other Possible Problems with the Toilet

 If you notice water on the floor near a toilet, the following problems could be present:
  • Condensation could be forming on the toilet tank during humid weather
  • The wax-sealing ring under the toilet bowl may have disintegrated
  • The toilet bowl may be cracked
  • The connections under the toilet tank may be leaking

 Other tips

  • The toilet tank water level should be below the overflow pipe.  If it is not, the float ball should be adjusted.  
  • If you have to "jiggle" the toilet handle after flushing, adjust the chain so the flapper valve closes properly. 
  • If your toilet is an older 22-litre model, consider replacing it with a modern 6-litre low-flow toilet. You will experience savings on your water and sewer bill and save water.

 If you find a leak

If you find a leak, contact a licensed plumber right away to have it fixed. 

The Municipality has a reduction clause in the current By-law for water and wastewater bills. For more information please contact us by email or call 905-885-4544.