Your heart probably sinks when you find water on the bathroom floor close to your toilet. Your thoughts may wander to a problem inside the tank. Worse yet, something might be wrong between the toilet seal and the sewer line.
It’s never a good idea to panic, but you do need to know when you should worry about a toilet leaking. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the toilet is actually leaking and water hasn’t accumulated from another source like the tub or sink. If you determine the leak is coming from the toilet, it’s time to consult a professional.
Leaking or Not?
While seeing water on the floor near your toilet can make you immediately assume that you have a toilet leak, there may be another reason for the puddle. One of the littlest members of your family may have tried using the toilet and missed their target. Water on the floor may have also come from an accidental splash from the shower, tub, or sink. Some toilets can be prone to condensation, where they accumulate moisture and then drip onto the floor. This is common during warm and humid times of the year.
If you can rule these different scenarios out, then you are likely dealing with a toilet leak. A toilet leak exposes your home to water, which can damage floors, walls, and personal possessions. It can also lead to mold growth.
A toilet leaking internally or externally is wasting water, and that can add up when it comes to your utility bills. Silent leaks can waste hundreds or thousands of gallons of water over the course of a month. Your next water bill might be $50 higher or more than expected. Consulting with a plumber can provide you with prompt service.
Testing for Leaks
If someone in your family had an accident that resulted in water on the floor, then water accumulation might not be something you see repeatedly. If you do notice a pattern, you can use a little bit of investigative work to figure out what the problem is.
Also known as tank sweating, condensation is one scenario that isn’t caused by a leak. It can look like the water is coming from the inside of your toilet, even when it’s not. When there’s a large difference between the temperature of the water in the toilet tank and the air in the bathroom, condensation can form.
When there are enough condensation droplets, they’ll pool on the floor. This usually happens because the room’s air might be warm and even steamy, but the tank water is cold. If the entire outside of the toilet is evenly covered with moisture, then it’s probably just a summer issue of condensation.
An actual leak is another story. You should always let a plumber conduct the actual repairs, but there are two things you can do to confirm a leak. First, obtain food coloring from your kitchen. Lift the toilet tank lid and drop some food coloring inside. If you find that some colored water makes its way into the bowl when the toilet hasn’t been flushed, then you might have water leaking somewhere between the toilet tank and the bowl.
You can also turn off the water to your toilet using the shutoff valve. Pull the tank lid up and take notice of where the water level is. Prevent anyone from using that toilet for a few hours. Letting it sit overnight is even better. If the water level has gone down during that time frame, then you likely have an interior leak that should be addressed.
Potential Damage Spots
The design of a toilet is more complex than many homeowners realize. If you bring a plumber in to investigate a leak, there are various spots that your plumber will inspect. The flapper is one of the first places they might look, as it may be broken, warped or cracked. This means it would no longer provide the seal that keeps water in the tank where it belongs.
If the flapper is to blame, you may notice a trickling sound from the toilet. It’s also possible that the flapper has become stuck in an open position. This results in the toilet flowing constantly. Your toilet has a feature that keeps the bowl from overflowing. Still, you’re relying on that to work in order to protect your flooring from water damage.
Cracks in the cold-water supply line of your toilet can occur over time due to high water pressure, creating a plumbing emergency. Damaged tanks will release the water they’re supposed to hold, and a bad float might not stop water flow when the tank is full.
Damaged or corroded fill valves also influence water flow in your tank and engage the float to maintain the right water level. Broken connectors can lose their seal over time, resulting in water on your bathroom floor. It’s best to have a plumber check each potential issue and fix what’s wrong.
Even damage to your toilet bowl can create a leak, draining right onto your bathroom floor through the crack. If ceramic or porcelain has cracked to this point, then glue or putty isn’t going to fully repair the seal. You’ll need an entirely new toilet.
The Importance of Professional Repairs
While it might seem possible for you to confirm a toilet leak on your own, finding and fixing the problem could result in further damage to your toilet. Depending on the leak’s location, the whole toilet may need to be removed just to complete the work.
Porcelain is a very brittle substance. If you drop the toilet or strike it the wrong way, then it can shatter very easily. In the tight confines of a bathroom, that’s an easy accident to have. Sharp shards of porcelain can pose a risk of injury. Even if you don’t damage the toilet, there is the potential to hurt yourself trying to lift it. The average weight of a toilet is around 50 pounds.
A toilet that has been turned off needs a trained eye to find subtle signs of water damage. This includes gaps in the seal, or evidence of internal damage that an untrained eye can’t easily see. A professional plumbers can do all this easily due to their training and experience. They also have the tools and supplies needed to get the work done.
Get Help Quickly
Some toilet issues may be resolved by jiggling the handle or figuring out who in your family had an accident. In other cases, a part or even the whole toilet might need to be replaced. No matter how big or small a replacement or repair problem is, having a professional come to your home to diagnose and fix the problem is ideal.
If you live in Marion, IL, or the surrounding area, then reach out to us at Baker & Son’s Plumbing for a consultation. We also install traditional and tankless water heaters and offer sewer, septic tank, and water filtration services. Contact Baker & Son’s Plumbing for all your residential plumbing and storm shelter needs as well.