Check for leaks
Leaks inside your toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day. Some leaks are silent, some produce a running water sound and others may be visible as a small trickle running from the rim to the water in the bowl.
To detect silent leaks, remove toilet tank lid and add any colored cleaning agents. Flush to clear water in the bowl. Add dye tablets, leak detector fluid or a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If the tank is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 10 to 15 minutes. Flush as soon as the test is complete.
If your toilet is leaking, try the following procedures:
- Water level in the tank should be about one-half inch below the top of the overflow tube in the middle of the tank. To adjust the water level, use a screwdriver to adjust the screw on the end of the ballcock float arm or bend the float arm up or down (very gently) until the correct water level is achieved.
- If you need to jiggle the handle to stop the water running after a flush, you should oil, tighten or replace the flush handle. To tighten, use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nut attached to the handle on the inside of the tank.
- Check for holes and cracks in the float ball. If the ball is filled with water or no longer appears to float, it needs to be replaced. Replace by unscrewing it from its tubing and screwing another on in its place.
- Adjust lift chain so it hangs straight from handle lever with about one-half inch slack.
- Check the rubber flapper or flush valve at the bottom of the tank. If it is worn or corroded, it needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- If the water won’t shut off at all, replace both the flapper and the ballcock.
- If these simple procedures don’t stop the leak, you should call your plumber.
Since the mid-1990s, all new toilets have been redesigned to conserve water, using 1.28 gallons or less of water per flush. Older models use 4 gallons or more per flush. If your toilet is not a newer water-saving fixture, consider purchasing one.