How to Check for a Leaky Toilet

Since the water flows down the sewer, leaking toilets don’t necessarily leave any signs of a leak, until you get the bill. The average leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day. That’s over 6,000 gallons a month for just ONE leaking toilet!

Check your toilet for leaks by following these easy steps.

  1. Remove the toilet tank lid
  2. Drop one dye tablet or 10 drops of food coloring into the tank
  3. Put the lid back on and wait 10-15 minutes
  4. Check back and see if any of the food coloring has seeped into the bowl.
  5. If so, you have a leak.

What causes toilet leaks?

The most common cause of a leaking toilet tank is when the flapper fails to seal properly and form a tight seal. This lets water leak from the tank into the bowl. Leaks may also be caused by the flapper being out of position.

How do I clean my flapper seal?

Turn off the water at the shutoff valve, flush the toilet and hold down the handle. There may be a little water left in the bottom of the tank, but don’t worry about it. Wipe the flapper seal with a clean cloth to make sure it is free of debris, and check it for cracks or splits. If the flapper is damaged, pick up a new one (they are inexpensive).

What causes toilets to run intermittently?

A toilet that runs on and off by itself has a problem that plumbers call a “phantom flush”. The cause is a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl. This problem is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper or flapper seal. You can try the above information to fix the problem, but if it continues to occur, please call your local plumber to fix it for you.

It is your responsibility to monitor your water use!


Article originally printed in Minnehaha Community Water Corporation newsletter 2017