Toilet Repair Guide

More than 95 percent of all water waste is caused by toilet leaks.   So, it's not surprising that worn or damaged parts in the flush tank cause water leakage and lead to high water bills.

To inspect your toilet, follow these instructions (a diagram below will help illustrate the important parts of your toilet).   Carefully remove the tank lid and make sure all the mechanisms are working properly.  Also, make sure the fill tube is placed so that it empties into the overflow pipe.

There are three common reasons for a toilet leak.  They are easy to detect.

Problem: Float Arm Not Working Properly
Visually check to see if the overflow pipe and the flapper are working properly.  Do this by flushing the toilet, watching the flow tank mechanism and listening.  You should be able to hear the water flow shut off.

If the water does not shut off, has the water level risen above the overflow pipe?  If it has, gently bend the float arm down and adjust the water level.  You want the fill valve to shut off the water when the water level is about 1/2 inch below the top of the overflow pipe "A".   This water line is marked in some toilet tanks.  If adjusting the float arm doesn't fix the problem, you may want to have a plumber do the job.

Problem: Defective Flapper
Check for a worn or improperly seated flapper by dropping two dye tablets, or 5-7 drops of red food coloring, into the toilet tank.  Do not flush.  If there is a leak, the dye-colored water will seep into the bowl in about 5-10 minutes.  If the water in the bowl changes color, the flapper needs to be replaced or realigned, and you should make the necessary repairs.

Problem: Pinhole Leak in Pipe or Float
A pinhole leak in the overflow pipe below the waterline could produce an invisible leak.  Check for this by shining a flashlight down into the overflow pipe.  If you see running water, you have a leak and need to have this problem corrected.

Water in the overflow pipe could also be caused by a pinhole in the float, or a worn washer on the inlet line.  Again, you may want to call a plumber to have this repaired.

Finally, if you need to replace your entire toilet, you should install a 1.6 gallon per flush toilet.

Toilet parts labeled