Leaks inside your toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. If left unrepaired for six months, as much as 36,000 gallons of water goes unused down the drain.
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To check your toilet for leaks, remove the lid from the toilet tank, remove any colored cleaning agent, flush to clear water in the bowl, then drop one leak detecting dye tablet (or five drops of blue food coloring) into the tank and wait 10 to 15 minutes. If colored water appears in the toilet bowl without additional flushing, there is a leak. Flush as soon as the test is complete.
To fix the leak yourself, you need a large adjustable wrench and a screwdriver. Now, follow these simple steps:
Jiggle the toilet handle. If that makes the water stop running, the chain or guide wire attached to the handle may be out of alignment.
Make sure the handle fits snugly against the tank. If it doesn’t, use the adjustable wrench to tighten the nut attached to the handle on the inside of the tank.
Check the flapper (the rubber device that opens and closes to allow water into the toilet) for deterioration. Bleach and other chemicals in the toilet water can deteriorate the flapper. When a flapper does not fit snuggly, water leaks from the tank into the toilet, wasting water. With ultra low-flow toilets, it is important to replace the flapper with the correct model in order to retain the low-flow function. Check with your plumber or local plumbing supply store for the correct model or go to toiletflapper.org for the information.
Check the tank water level. The correct water level is about ¼ to 2 inches below the top of the overflow tube in the middle of the tank. The overflow tube drains directly into your sewer system. To lower the water level, use the screwdriver to adjust the screw on the end of the ballcock float arm or bend the float arm down until the correct water level is achieved.
If these simple procedures don’t stop the leak, call your plumber.
Since the mid-1990s, all new toilets have been redesigned to conserve water, using 1.6 gallons or less per flush. If your toilet is not a low-flow model, you should consider purchasing one.