What Should You Do If Your Toilet Is Leaking

One of the more interesting conversations being overheard in local restaurants, waiting rooms, airports, and even in college student union buildings is whether or not it is worth trying to purchase a home or stay a life-long renter. Economists, financial experts, and even sociologists cite a number of reasons why there may be a little hesitation in wanting to own a home, but plumbing experts agree that the one equivocating factor between renting or owning is having to deal with your toilet leaking.

Yes, a leaky toilet is something that no matter whether you’re in an apartment, rent home, or your own home, once your porcelain throne springs a leak, it almost feels like the end of the world. However, any responsible homeowner (or resident for that matter) needs to be versed in the proper way to address this type of plumbing issue. After all, being able to react accordingly can make the difference between a small inconvenience and major water damage.

The first thing you need to do is identify if your toilet is actually leaking. While this may seem a little obvious, there are reasons why there might be moisture present on or near your toilet, one of which is simply condensation ( the infamous ‘sweaty’ toilet). You want to be sure that there are not any cracks visible in the porcelain of the tank or the bowl. This would ultimately mean a replacement. You also need to be sure to check the closet bolts (hold the toilet base to floor) & see if they need to be tightened a bit. Be sure to also check the water supply valve and/or line.

Perhaps the easiest way to determine if your toilet is leaking & even gain ground on identifying the location of the leak, you can dry any present moisture to make the toilet look like normal & add a bit of food coloring to the tank water. Wait about 15-20 minutes, then check things out. If you see food coloring present in the bowl or elsewhere, you can now better trace the leak.

If you, indeed, have a leak, one of the most important things you can do as a responsible homeowner is know where the water shut-off is to your home, as well as the shut-offs to the fixtures in your home. This is crucial. If there is a leak, you’re already contending with some level of water damage slowly occurring. Moreover, if you need to tackle the repair of the leak that requires changing out tank components or the bowl wax ring, being able to shut-off the water to prevent massive water damage is absolutely vital.

Keep in mind that the information in this article is fairly rudimentary in addressing your toilet leaking as a whole, but there is a reason for this. One of the main things homeowners don’t do is take regular check of their home’s most important systems, which includes plumbing. Irregular, cursory checks just won’t do; a proactive attitude is the best defense.