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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Causes of Leaky Toilets and How to Prevent Water Damage

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

leaking toilet on a wood panel floor External leaks will not only lead to wet feet but also could lead to water damage in your bathroom.

Toilet Leaks and Water Damage

Toilets can develop both external and internal leaks. External leaks will not only lead to wet feet but also could lead to water damage in your bathroom. Not to mention, any leak could turn into a huge waste of water if left unattended. Here you'll learn some common causes of leaky toilets and what you can do to fix them and prevent water damage.

1. Cracked Toilet Tank


Toilets are designed to last, however, cracks can occur over time. They'll often start as a hairline crack and develop into something more serious.

Toilet tanks are constructed to withstand water pressure for a long time. But, even the best designs can develop cracks over time, especially hairline cracks in the glazing. It's important you act on these cracks immediately to prevent water damage. Don't wait until you see water penetrating the glazing since that would mean you're now facing a full-on replacement instead of a simple repair.

If you have a crack in your toilet, you'll want to call a plumber to see what action to take. While you can repair cracks yourself, you'll want to have a professional plumber take a look and advise you on the best course of action you should take. If they do tell you it's okay to fix the crack yourself, here are some basic instructions:

To fix:

  • Turn the water off
  • Dry the tank on the inside
  • Apply silicone plumbing epoxy to the crack
  • Smooth out the sealer with a putty knife
  • Let the silicone epoxy thoroughly dry
  • Fill the tank back up with water

2. Old Wax Ring


If your toilet is loose, you'll need to replace the wax ring. Also, you might have to replace the wax ring if it's old and worn down and isn't pliable anymore. This would mean the seal isn't intact any longer. So, it can cause water to flow through the base.

To prevent water damage you'll need to remedy this. You'll need to remove the old wax ring and replace it with a new one. Using a putty knife, scrape the old wax away from the opening of the drain. Be sure you remove all the old wax.

Once you scrape up all the old wax, install the new one. Be sure the plastic cone faces down toward the drain when you install it. Position the tee bolts properly on each side of the flange in the key openings.

3. Damaged Flapper


Until you flush your toilet, its tank is holding water. When you flush it, the tank's flapper lifts, allowing water to flow into the bowl from the tank. This replenishes the water supply to protect the inside of the bowl from bacteria and stains.

The flapper is a plastic or rubber part that holds the seal in order to keep water in the toilet tank. After the flapper goes back to its original resting position, water begins filling up the tank again.

Although the flapper is a simple device, it's not indestructible. As time goes on, it can:

  • Crack
  • Warp
  • Break


If this occurs, it will not be able to control the water flow any longer between the bowl and tank. And, this could lead to water leaking into the bowl from the tank, creating a trickling sound. Plumbers call this a "silent leak" since it's hard for homeowners to detect it.

You'll notice your water bill climbing if you have a silent leak. You'll want to check for water sounds that come from your toilet after flushing. You shouldn't hear any water trickling into the bowl once it fills if there's no leak.

Damaged flappers are simple and fairly cheap to repair yourself. There are toilet repair kits available where you can remove the old flapper easily from the tank and install a new one.

4. Loose Water Supply Line


If you have a loose water supply line, there will be water leaking from your toilet base constantly instead of only when you flush the toilet. To prevent water damage, check the connection where the tank and supply line are connected to ensure the rubber seal and nut are tight.

5. Bad Float


Once it reaches a specific level, water should stop flowing into the tank of your toilet. The float rests on top of the water which monitors the level of the water and disengages the supply once it reaches the required point. If the tank of your toilet overflows, you can probably blame a bad float. The good news is, a faulty float is simple to repair. In most toilets, you can easily install a replacement float since it basically slips into place with very little effort and no tools.

6. Damaged Fill Valve


If your toilet tank does overflow and the float isn't to blame, you might have a damaged or corroded fill valve. This valve controls how much water flows into the toilet tank when it's paired with the float and ensures the toilet tank is full to the precise number of gallons.

It's not difficult to replace the valve, but it's typically more complex than fixing the float. There are several pieces to a fill valve and all pieces need to be looked at to ensure they still work or if the whole fill valve unit requires replacing.

If you choose to repair this yourself, there are usually detailed instructions with most replacement valves. Since the project does require evaluating the viability of a variety of parts of the toilet, in some cases, the best way to deal with a damaged fill valve is shutting the water off and having a trained plumber look at it before you try and fix the fill valve yourself.

In the event there is water damage from your toilet leaking, you'll require professional services immediately. Aside from hiring a plumber, you can prevent further water damage by calling a restoration company. SERVPRO uses cutting-edge equipment to repair damaged property and bring it back to its original state. SERVPRO of University, SE Orlando is always updating its equipment and fleet so clients in the SE Orlando area or in other locations can have quick access to services and very skilled professionals.

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