We don’t mean when water is gushing out of the back of your toilet or overflowing from the rim. Hopefully, this type of leak is obvious. We want to help you find out when your toilet is leaking—even though it may not be obvious at all.
Most households have plumbing leaks that go undetected for quite some time. And the toilet is a common source of leakage. The average home wastes about 10,000 gallons of water every year, according to the U.S. EPA. This is a startling number, but something that is easy to get under control when you take small steps, like finding out if your toilet is leaking and fixing it.
Sometimes, a leaky toilet will run. This is a noise you might have gotten used to, but it’s not a good sign. If the toilet runs sporadically between flushes, there is a leak between the tank and the bowl. However, you may not hear anything at all. Toilets can leak in the same way with no indication by sound or visually. You may need to do a dye tab test to find out for sure.
Dye tablets may be available from a local hardware store or from your plumber. You simply drop a tablet or two into the tank (the top part of the toilet) and wait 20 minutes. If dye has leaked over to the bowl by then, you have a leak.
Before we move on to methods of fixing a leak of this caliber, we should note that there are other leaks you should be aware of. If you notice pools of water at the base of your toilet with little explanation, this may be due to a leak in the wax seal that keeps the toilet securely in place. This wears down over time, and it is not too expensive to fix the seal.
A leaky tank or bowl, in which the material has cracked, means the end of your toilet. However, if you see a leak from the shut-off valve or the pipe leading into the toilet, a plumber should be able to replace the part for less.
The good news is that when dye leaks into the bowl of your toilet, it may not be a difficult fix. Often, you only need to replace the flapper valve, the rubber part in the tank, something you can find at the local hardware store. Of course, if this is too difficult, you should call in a local plumber for help.
Otherwise, you should always call a plumber when a leak is severe or when you need a new toilet. Look for a WaterSense label on your new toilet and save big! According to the EPA, you could save 13,000 gallons of water a year!