How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

With the increasing attention on energy efficiency, it’s surprising how easily we can overlook other wasteful areas of our homes. The humble loo, a fundamental of every household, can be a significant source of waste when it’s not functioning properly. Leaking loos not only contribute to water waste, thereby harming our environment, but they also take a toll on our wallets. In this article, we dive deep into the steps you can take to fix a leaking toilet and ensure your home remains both eco-friendly and cost-effective.

Modern spacious bathroom with bright tiles with toilet and sink. Side view

Why Addressing a Leaking Loo is Essential

Before we delve into the how-to, it’s important to understand the implications of a leaking toilet. According to Waterwise, a leading authority on water conservation, a leaking toilet can waste between 215 to 400 litres of water a day. Over a year, that can amount to more than 73,000 litres of wasted water. This not only contributes to environmental strain but also inflates water bills. A swift fix is not just environmentally prudent; it’s financially savvy too.

Identifying the Problem

The first step in fixing a leak is identifying where the problem lies. There are typically two main issues with a running toilet:

  1. The fill valve might be malfunctioning, leading to an overflow of water into the bowl.
  2. The flapper valve, which controls water flowing from the tank to the bowl, may be compromised.

A simple dye test can be useful. Drop some food colouring or a dye tablet into your cistern. If you see the colour seep into the bowl within 30 minutes, your flapper valve likely needs attention.

Repairing the Fill Valve

If the water level in the cistern is too high and water is spilling into the overflow tube, the fill valve is the culprit. Here’s how you can address it:

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply: Before you start, make sure the water supply to the toilet is turned off.
  2. Adjust the Fill Height: The float on the fill valve controls the water level. Depending on your system, you may need to adjust a clip or screw to set the right water level.
  3. Replace if Necessary: If adjusting doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the fill valve. Remember to follow manufacturer instructions or consult online tutorials like this one.

Addressing the Flapper Valve

If the dye test indicates a compromised flapper valve, here’s how to fix it:

  1. Drain the Cistern: Turn off the water supply and flush to drain.
  2. Inspect the Flapper: Check if the flapper is worn out or has mineral deposits. A compromised flapper doesn’t create a proper seal, allowing water to leak.
  3. Clean or Replace: Sometimes, a simple clean can restore the flapper. However, if it’s visibly damaged, you’ll need to replace it. When buying a new one, ensure it’s compatible with your toilet model.

Final Checks

Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments or replacements, turn the water supply back on. Allow the cistern to fill and perform another dye test to ensure the leak is fixed. If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional plumber.

Embrace Eco-Friendly Living

While this guide empowers you to address leaking loos, the broader message here is about eco-friendly living. Whether it’s conserving energy or fixing a leaking toilet, every small act contributes to a larger purpose. So, the next time you spot a dripping tap, a malfunctioning appliance, or even a leaky loo, take proactive steps. Your home, wallet, and our planet will thank you.