The American Water Works Association has established that toilets make up nearly 30% of all water usage within the home. When a leak develops, this percentage can increase drastically.

Not only does this result in higher energy and/or utility costs, it can take a tremendous toll on your well, water, and plumbing systems.

Studies indicate that even a small leak in a toilet can result in 200 gallons or more of water loss each day!

The good news is – unless your toilet tank is actually cracked – most toilet tank leaks can be resolved easily and inexpensively. Before we get into the repair aspect of the issue, let’s talk about why the toilet tank is leaking in the first place.

What Causes the Toilet Tank to Leak?

In most instances, a leaking toilet tank is a result of one of two issues – either the flush valve system is considered to be ineffective or there are problems with the fill valve.

source: wikimedia

Usually, it is the first – the flush valve system. If you look inside of your toilet tank, you will see a flapper or an inlet valve. When you flush, these components are supposed to create a seal that is strong enough to prevent water from getting through.

As time progresses, though, this inner tank part may start to break down or malfunction. Naturally, as it loses its effectiveness, water makes its way through it and will start to leak down into the toilet bowl.

If you find that your flush valve system seems to be working properly, the leak could be a result of a problem with your fill valve. The fill valve or a ball cock (your toilet could have either), could be placed in the wrong area or it could be completely broken. Perhaps it does not completely close or the floater in the tank is set to stop too high up.

If either of these situations occur, the water in the toilet tank will continue to flow. When this happens, the water will – eventually – find its way right into the overflow tube within the tank.

When this happens, the toilet tank will leak or engage in what is called “ghost flushing”.

What is Ghost Flushing?

Ghost flushing – also referred to as “phantom flushing” – occurs when you hear your toilet engaging in the refill process, without your ever having flushed it to start with.

The sound associated with this issue can occur constantly or intermittently.

In some instances, it can happen every few minutes. This indicates a very serious toilet tank leak that needs to be addressed immediately.

In other instances, it may happen every few hours. Despite taking longer, a slow toilet tank leak needs to be dealt with immediately, too.

The sound of the ghost flushing means that you either have an internal or external leak. We have already reviewed the common causes of internal toilet tank leaks. Continue reading to learn about external toilet tank leakage.

Do I Have an External Tank Leak?

If you notice that your toilet water tank is leaking, look around the toilet. Do you see any water on the outside surface? Do you see water on the floor? Is it on the walls surrounding the toilet?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have an external toilet tank leak.

While cracking and other complications may be to blame for an external leak, the most common issue is the bottom area of the fill valve. It could also be the supply line that provides water to the toilet or the seals that are situated directly between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl.

Utilize the following steps to determine the issue and for measures on how to correct the issue:

  1. If you see that water is dripping down from the very bottom of the toilet tank, start by checking the locknut. Tighten if it is necessary. If tightening does not work, empty the tank and clean the area surrounding it. Check to make sure the washer on the fill valve is functional. This should be able to seal from within the toilet tank. If any components need replaced, do so.
  2. Check the supply line that pushes water to the toilet. It may need to be replaced. In fact, this component should be replaced at least once every five years.
  3. If you see water on the back of the base of the toilet, the seals that attach the tank to the bowl may need to be replaced. When you replace these seals, always ensure that you also replace the gaskets, bolts, and washers, too.

Confirming a Toilet Tank Leak

Perhaps you are hearing unusual noises and notice some changes in the water in the toilet, but are not completely sure that you have a leak. If this is the case, the good news is, there is a way to confirm that you do – in fact – have a toilet tank leak.

This is done by a simple leak test.

All you have to do is put a colored toilet tablet in the tank once it is full. Leave the toilet for about ten to fifteen minutes. Come back and look in the toilet bowl. If you notice that the color has spilled over into the bowl, yes, you do have a toilet tank leak and it needs to be addressed immediately.

We Can Help

If you feel as if you have a leak in your toilet tank or if you have confirmed the issue, it is time for a resolution. We here at Reynolds can diagnose where the leak is originating and fix it quickly. Not only will this help resolve the leak, it will save you time, money, and future problems (such as floor damage or damage to the other components in your toilet). Why waste time and money, when it is not necessary? Contact us today and we will resolve your problem – with ease!