Check Out The New 2023 Tax Credits & Rebates! Read More

Skip navigation

Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

How to Detect a Toilet Leak

A leaking toilet can lead to a big problem in any Birmingham, AL area home. As toilet leaks worsen, they have the potential to cause significant water damage to your residence and waste many gallons of water. This isn’t just bad for the earth, but leaky toilets can also cause big spikes in your water bill. Learn how to detect a toilet leak early on to avoid the headaches and expenses that come with a major leak. Douglas Cooling & Heating shares the information you need to know to identify toilet leaks and fix minor problems in your bathrooms.

Tips on How to Detect a Toilet Leak

A leak can stem from various areas of a toilet, including the tank and the toilet bowl. Below, you’ll find tips from the Douglas Cooling & Heating plumbing team that will help you detect a toilet leak in these areas. Our licensed Alabama plumbers also explain what you need to do if you do find a leak in one of your toilets.

Toilet Dye Test

The toilet dye test is a great way to confirm where the leaking your leaking toilet is. This test will confirm if your leaky toilet has a leak between the toilet tank and toilet bowl. This is often a silent toilet leak and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. Here are the directions to perform this quick test:

  1. Remove the lid from the toilet tank and set it aside.
  2. Remove any tank cleaners that color the water in the tank. Flush the toilet to clear colored water out of the tank upon removal of these materials.
  3. Once the tank has filled with clear water, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank to tint the water. There needs to be enough food coloring to noticeably change the water color, so add as many drops of food coloring as you need.
  4. Let the toilet sit unused for about 30 minutes.
  5. Check the water in the bowl. If the colored water from the tank has entered the bowl through a leak, you will be able to see the color difference due to the dye added to the tank water.

Pencil Test

The dye test is a great method for how to detect a toilet leak, but what is responsible for this leak? The pencil test is another trick for detecting a silent leak and can help you pinpoint the malfunctioning tank components responsible for the problem.

  1. Use a pencil to mark the water line on the inside of your toilet tank.
  2. Shut off the water supply to the toilet. This can be done by closing the shutoff valve on the water supply line leading into the fixture, which is typically located on the wall underneath or behind the toilet.
  3. Let the toilet sit unused for about 30 minutes.
  4. Check the pencil mark you made inside the tank.
    • If the current water level is higher than the original mark, this indicates a flush valve problem. The float, float arm, or flapper may need to be replaced, or it may be necessary to replace the gasket below the flush valve. This requires taking apart the entire toilet fixture and is a job best left to a plumber.
    • If the mark is level with the current water level, the problem is with the toilet’s fill valve. Replacing the fill valve is a simple fix that handy homeowners may be comfortable tackling themselves, or you can call your plumber to do so instead.
  5. If the pencil test indicated a problem with the flush valve, extend the test and leave the toilet unused overnight. Check the tank water level in the morning – if the tank is nearly empty, this indicates a bad gasket. If the water level is low but the tank isn’t empty, the problem is with a faulty flapper, flapper seat, or float.

Toilet Repair in Birmingham, AL

The above tests are useful for how to detect a toilet leak in your Birmingham, AL area home. If your tests show a leak, call the licensed Alabama plumbers of Douglas Cooling & Heating to schedule an appointment for toilet repairs.

Comments are closed.