How to know if your toilet is leaking

Image of someone checking for toilet leaks

Finding out if your toilet is leaking can be tricky. Leaks will often go unnoticed until you get hit with an unusually high water bill. A toilet leak causes water to trickle endlessly down the toilet bowl. This not only wastes water, but over time will significantly increase your water bill. The good news is that checking for a leak is easy – all you need is some food coloring.

Before you get started, let’s make sure you understand what causes a leak. A toilet leak is usually the result of a broken flush valve, commonly known as the flapper. It’s found at the bottom of the toilet tank and keeps the water from flowing into the bowl. When the toilet flushes, the flapper opens and releases fresh water into the bowl to replace the water you’re flushing down the drain. If the flapper is damaged or doesn’t seal properly, a steady trickle of water leaks from the tank to the bowl and then down the drain.

Check for a Leak in 4 Simple Steps:

  1. Remove the lid from the tank on the back of your toilet.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to the water in the tank. Choose a color that is easy to see such as red or blue.
  3. Wait a few minutes for the food coloring to spread through the water in the tank (don’t flush until you have completed step 4.)
  4. Wait for a few more minutes and then check the toilet bowl. If any of the food coloring has made its way into the toilet bowl water, you know you have a leak. It shows that there is continual water flow from your tank to your bowl.

If your toilet bowl is leaking, it’s smart to turn off the water at the shutoff valve. You will usually find it behind your toilet. This will stop any water flow to the toilet and keep you from wasting water until you can get the leak fixed.

Toilet Water Shutoff Valve 300x300

Fixing the leak is pretty simple, and you can probably do it yourself. You just need to replace the flapper. You should be able to find one at your local home improvement store.

If you don’t feel uncomfortable doing the repair yourself, our plumbers can definitely do the repair for you. If you check for a leak and don’t find it in the toilet, but still have a high water bill, you might have a leak somewhere else. Call a professional to diagnose the problem.

Checking for toilet leaks in your home can save you water and money. It’s an easy process that only takes a few minutes. It can be a fun project to do as a family. After all, you just need a little food coloring!

Need help? Give us a call at 505-761-9644, ask a pro, or schedule service online.