This post will discuss the steps you can take to fix a leaking toilet or cistern.
A leaking toilet or cistern can be a frustrating problem, but the good news is that it is often a simple issue that can be resolved with a few basic tools and a bit of know-how. Whether you’re dealing with a slow drip or a steady stream of water, we’ll walk you through the process of identifying the cause of the leak and provide solutions to fix it. So, if you’re tired of dealing with a constantly running or leaking toilet, read on to learn how to fix the problem once and for all!
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Why does my toilet keep leaking?
A leaking toilet or cistern can be caused by several common issues such as:
- malfunctioning inlet/fill valve
- loose or worn flushing mechanism/outlet valve
- a cracked or damaged cistern or bowl
- poor installation
- a blocked or clogged toilet
In order to fix a leaking toilet or cistern we need to first identify where the problem is coming from.
How to fix your running/leaking toilet or cistern
Before fixing your toilet, you need to determine where the leak is coming from and whether you simply have a running cistern or a leaking toilet proper – a good rule of thumb is that if there’s water on the floor, you have a leaking or blocked toilet, if there is just water running into the bowl, you have a leaking cistern. To test if water is leaking into the toilet pan, flush the toilet and leave it for 10 minutes. Go back to the toilet and place a sheet of toilet paper at the back of the bowl and observe if water is running onto the toilet paper.
Bear in mind that in Queensland, there are strict regulations on the type of plumbing work that you can perform yourself.
Causes of a leaking cistern
Most causes of a leaking cistern can be performed by yourself and don’t need the assistance of a professional plumber unless you run into problems.
The inlet/fill valve
An inlet valve, also known as a fill valve, is a device located in the toilet cistern that controls the amount of water that enters from your supply line. It regulates the water level in the cistern, and when working properly, should stop the water flow once it reaches a certain level. A faulty inlet/fill valve will result in water dripping onto the floor beneath where the inlet valve connects to the cistern. It can also cause a hissing sound or water to spurt out the top of the cistern.
How to replace an inlet/fill valve in a toilet:
- Turn off the water supply
- Drain the cistern by flushing the toilet
- Detach the toilet inlet valve
- Put the new toilet inlet valve in its place, ensuring all the washers are in place
- Tighten the fill nut (often located under the cistern)
- Attach it to the water supply line and tighten, then turn the water back on
The outlet/flush valve
A flush valve is a component of a toilet’s flush mechanism that controls the release of water from the cistern into the bowl when the toilet is flushed. Both the valve and washer can cause leaks.
How to replace a flush valve:
- Turn off the water supply.
- Flush the toilet to empty the cistern.
- Remove the cistern lid.
- Unscrew the back nut and flush pipe nut and remove the outlet valve. You may need to remove the whole cistern to access this valve.
- Inspect the valve and replace the valve and seating washer.
- Make sure the new washer is flat against the valve.
- Install the new flush valve, nuts and cistern lid.
- Turn the water back on and check for leaks.
It is recommended to consult with a plumber if unsure.
Causes of a leaking toilet
Replacing a leaking toilet can be performed by yourself and doesn’t legally require the assistance of a licensed plumber, although the aid of a licensed plumber will reduce the chances of any issues arising further down the track. If you choose to relocate your toilet while replacing it then this falls under ‘notifiable work’ and you will require a Form 4 and a licensed plumber to perform the work.
Cracked bowl or cistern
If there is water leaking onto the ground itself, then you need to check the bowl and cistern for cracks. Cracks can appear during manufacturing or simply over time with wear and tear. Next, you must determine whether the crack is above or below the water line. If it’s above the water line then it’s probably not the problem. If it is below the water line you will need to fix it. Generally waterproof epoxy is the easiest fix. It’s worth noting that if you have a large crack in your toilet bowl you should always replace the toilet as these can be dangerous. A crack can develop into a break and sharp porcelain can slice through skin leading to severe injuries.
How to fix a crack in your toilet
- Turn off the shutoff valve below the cistern. Then, flush the toilet to drain the water from the cistern and bowl, removing any leftover water.
- Next, prepare the crack by cleaning and sanding the area in question. This will help ensure the waterproof epoxy adheres correctly.
- Apply the epoxy (after following manufacturer guidelines in preparation). Allow it to set, again to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Turn the shutoff valve back on and test the toilet to see if it is still leaking. If it is, repeat, if not well done – you’ve fixed your toilet!
If you repeat this process a couple of times and it still doesn’t work, you will need to replace your toilet. You can do this yourself if you’re handy but contact a professional plumber like DCM Plumbing if you need help with this!
A poorly installed toilet can leak in several ways. One common way is If the leak is caused by a problem with the seal between the toilet and the sewer pipe. To check the seal, visually inspect the pan collar rubber for deterioration or damage as you may need to replace this rubber seal. This can be a more difficult and messy repair that will require the toilet to removed and the pan collar replaced. This needs to be performed by a professional.
Another way a toilet can leak is if the water supply line is not properly connected to the toilet fill valve, causing water to leak out of the valve and onto the floor.
If the water supply line is leaking, you will need to tighten the connection or replace the line and the stop cock/shut-off valve.
It’s important to note that if you’re not familiar with plumbing, it’s best to call a plumber to fix the issue, as improper installation can cause more damage and can be dangerous, and if you’re on the Gold Coast, DCM Plumbing are the plumbers you need for the job.
Blocked or clogged toilet
A blocked or clogged toilet can cause a leak as when the toilet drain pipe is clogged, the built-up pressure can cause the water to seep out of the base of the toilet or through the seals around the rear pipework.
To fix a blocked toilet, you can try using a plunger to forcefully remove the blockage. Make sure to cover the overflow pipe if there is one with a rag to create a better seal while plunging. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use a toilet auger, which is a long, flexible rod with a curled end that can reach and remove blockages. If other fixtures are affected, you may need the help of a professional plumber to clear the blockage as the sewer line is likely to be blocked.
Contact DCM Plumbing for your leaky toilet needs
DCM Plumbing is an excellent choice for fixing your leaking toilet. We are your local Gold Coast plumber with a highly skilled and experienced team who are equipped to handle any plumbing issue, big or small. We use the latest tools and technology to diagnose and fix problems quickly and efficiently, ensuring minimal disruption to your daily routine.
Additionally, we offer competitive pricing and a satisfaction guarantee, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you are getting the best value for your money. Don’t just take our word for it – we have over 900 5* Google reviews from happy customers. Trustworthy and reliable, DCM Plumbing is the perfect choice for all of your plumbing needs, so contact us today.