Over the recent Christmas holidays, I became aware of what seemed to be the noise of constant running water in my toilet. With a bit of investigation, and a bit of time, I was able to deduce that the flapper valve in my toilet was leaking, causing water to run into my toilet constantly, and just wasting the water.
Here’s how to tell if your flapper valve is leaking. Don’t worry about touching the water in the tank, as it is the same water you drink.
- Pull the lid off the toilet tank. Make sure to set the lid aside, and flat on the ground.
- Use a bit of food colouring and place a few drops in the tank.
- Come back in a while (minutes to hour) and see if the food colouring has started to leach into the toilet boil. If you see food colouring in the bowl, chances are that you have a leaking flapper valve.
Fear not, as this is an easy and inexpensive fix.
- Turn the water off to the toilet. There is usually a valve located on the tank feed.
- Flush the toilet and drain the water from the tank.
- Locate your flapper valve – and gently remove it from the pins. (Note there are a few varieties of flapper valves, so use caution when removing).
- Use a bit of Scotch-Brite Green scrubber pad to gently scrub any calcium, or iron that may have precipitated out of the water and onto the valve and the valve seat.
- Reinstall the flapper valve.
- Turn on the water to the tank, and add a few drops of food colouring back into the tank.
If the food colouring doesn’t leach into the bowl, you have fixed a leaky flapper valve. If food colouring is still leaching, you will have to replace the flapper valve. You can usually buy one for $5.00 to $10.00 dollars at your local home repair center. Make sure to bring your old valve into the store to ensure you get the right one.
Replace the flapper valve as follows:
- Follow steps 1 to 3 from above.
- Install the new flapper valve.
- Adjust the chain length to accommodate the amount of water flowing through when you push the lever
- Turn the water back on.
- Replace the toilet tank lid.
Additionally, you may want to use the time while the tank is drained to get a small brush and remove any “Guck” that has formed up on the components inside of the tank and tank walls. A bit of vinegar added into the toilet tank will also help clean and disinfect.
If you are still having problems, you may want to call a plumber, as you may have a more serious problem. Good luck!