leaking toilet sydney with the cover off showing the internals of the cistern

Toilet Leaking? Here’s what to do.

If you have noticed water pooling around the bottom of your toilet then there are a few things you should do to: 

  1. Locate the source of the leak
  2. Repair the leak to prevent the chance of further damage to your property. 

Whilst water leaks are quite common, they can be annoying if not remedied quickly, lead to increased water bills and have the potential to damage other parts of your home, such as your floors, carpets, skirting boards or walls. 

If you have noticed a toilet leak, then read on for expert advice from the team at FXD Plumbing. 

Water on your bathroom floor? What to do next!

First, we need to try to identify the source of the water. It may be that your toilet has a leak that will need to be repaired by a professional residential plumber, but this is not always the case. Quite often there is a simple explanation for this problem, that can be rectified with some basic tools and equipment and minimal DIY knowledge. 

Common causes of toilet leaks

Rusted or Cracked Pipes

Depending on the age of your home, and when your plumbing was installed, you may be looking at an issue with the pipes feeding into your toilet, rather than an issue with the toilet itself. Overtime, pipes can rust and crack and when this happens the best thing to do is call a licensed plumber to help assess the damage and provide advice on the best way to approach the repair. When left unattended to, damaged pipes can lead to extensive damage and waste thousands of liters of water over time. If you suspect that this is the issue, then call a plumber straight away. 

Loose or Worn Seals at the Base. 

Another common reason for your toilet to leak from the base is that the seals are either damaged or worn out. When this happens, the toilet will need to be removed from its position in order to get access to the seals. Whilst an experienced DIYer may be able to complete the task, getting the help of a professional plumber is advisable, as removing the toilet requires multiple steps including disconnection of water supply, valves and other key components of your toilets mechanisms. 

Leaking Toilet Tank or Cistern

If you have been able to identify that the water is not coming from the base of the toilet and is causing pooling water, then it is time to move into further investigation. The next most likely culprit would be a leaking toilet tank or cistern. To find out whether this is the cause of your problem there are a couple of simple steps you can take that require a few items that you should have around your home. 

Step 1. Carefully remove the cover from your cistern. Cistern covers are generally quite heavy, but can also be fragile and prone to cracking and chipping. Before removing the cistern, make sure you have laid down a towel on a flat surface large enough to hold the cistern lid, to prevent damage to both the cover and your other bathroom surfaces. 

Step 2. Once removed, place a few drops of food colouring into the water held within the cistern. You should put enough in to be able to clearly tell the water is a different colour, but not so much that you risk staining the inside of the toilet, or surfaces that may be leaked on to during testing.

Step 3. Ensure that the toilet is not flushed until you have allowed sufficient time to pass to determine whether your leak is coming from the toilet tank. If it is, you will notice that the water that is pooling on the ground takes on the colour of the ‘dyed’ water in the cistern. If you do notice this, the food colouring will also make it easier to spot exactly where the cistern is leaking and provide you with the opportunity to spot repair the leak. 

Now there are a few different types of leaks that will require a different approach. Read on to find out how to deal with toilet cistern leaks. Upon inspection, you will notice that the leak could be coming from one of four main areas. 

  1. Leaking where the toilet tank or cistern, meets the toilet bowl.

If water is escaping from between the cistern and the bowl, it might be a good idea to call in a professional plumber to seek some general advice. If you are confident enough however, you may be able to undertake this repair yourself. A few issues you might need to resolve include replacing the tank to bowl sponge gasket, which is usually the problem if the leaking increases when the toilet is flushed or you may need to replace the washers on the tank to bowl bolts.

 The actual cause of these toilet leaks can be difficult to pinpoint as often the leak itself is hidden by the toilet tank itself. More often than not it is easier and more effective to replace both the bowl sponge gasket and the tank to bowl bolts at the same time to ensure that you have both bases covered. 

2. Fill valve shank gasket leak

If the above mentioned methods of toilet repair haven’t solved the problem, then you may be dealing with a leak on one of the mechanical parts of your toilet’s system, such as the fill valve shank gasket. The fill valve shank gasket (ballcock), is the part of your toilets mechanism that lets water into the tank after is has been flushed. This piece is attached to the fill valve on the inside of the tank where water is directly plumbed. Firstly, check for possible cracks surrounding the valve as even hairline fractures in the porcelain have the ability to leak quite a large amount of water over time. 

If there are no visible cracks or fractures then you may be able to solve the problem by tightening the shank nut. Over time, some parts of the toilet can become loose and cause leaks. Try tightening this component and waiting an hour or two to see whether this has rectified the problem. If not, you may need to look at replacing the gasket all together. We would recommend at this point you should contact a plumbing professional to get advice on what to do next, and whether you should call in an expert. 

3. Cracks in the plastic or porcelain

The final culprit that we will discuss, and also quite a common cause of water leaking on the floor around your toilet is cracks in the plastic or porcelain. Toilets are manufactured using a number of different materials and in various qualities. It may be the case, that over time the plastic on your toilet becomes brittle, or that impacts such as slamming the toilet seat cause these plastic and porcelain surfaces to crack. Cracks might be small, and barely visible to the eye, but can still lead to water leaking over an extended period of time. If this is the case, you can either seek to repair the cracks with a waterproofing agent, such as silicone however this can take away from the overall look and feel of your bathroom.

If cracks are indeed the problem, it might be better to consider having a new toilet installed by a professional to ensure that you are not risking the same problems happening time and time again.

Other Possible Causes of Toilet Leaks

Shut-off Valve Leaking

If you notice that water is leaking around the shut off valve, which is usually at the very back of the toilet, then you may need to look at getting this replaced. Valves do wear out over time, and when they do it is best to replace the part before it causes a bigger problem. If you suspect this is the case, it is always best to call in a professional plumber who has experience in repair and replacement of residential plumbing fixtures. 

Toilet Supply Line Leaking

Another possibility is that the supply line to the toilet may be leaking. Check the line to see whether there are any obvious signs of water around the hoses and connections. If so, these parts will need to be replaced and again, it is best to call in a professional who can ensure the job is done right, so that you won’t have repeat problems or cause further damage. 

Blocked Drains

Drains can become blocked for a number of reasons. Anything from flushing items that are not made to be disposed of in toilets through to tree roots causing damage to the underground sewerage lines could be the culprit. If you suspect that the water pooling around your toilet is coming up from the ground, or is obviously waste-water then you should call a professional plumber immediately.

Need help with a leaking toilet? Call FXD Plumbers Sydney on 0428 795 498.

At FXD Plumbing Sydney we are dedicated to providing the very best customer service to our Sydney clients. Our team are highly skilled in all areas of residential plumbing and commercial plumbing and have been providing industry leading plumbing services in Sydney for over 10 years.  

If you have a blocked toilet or drain, or need help with any other plumbing issue then feel free to reach out for an obligation free discussion. We can provide you with a fixed price quote or estimate for any plumbing repairs or replacements. We also provide a lifetime guarantee on labour, so if there are any issues after your plumbing work has been completed, then we will come back to fix it for free. 

FXD Plumbing Sydney can help you with a wide range of plumbing problems including:

  • Blocked Drains
  • Leaking Taps
  • Gas Fitting and Fixtures
  • Toilet repair
  • Toilet installation
  • Pipe repair and replacement
  • Commercial plumbing
  • Residential plumbing

If you need help with any of these issues, or any other plumbing job then we would love to help!

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