How to Repair a Leaking Toilet

Vaquero Plumbing knows that a leaking toilet can be a frustrating and wasteful issue, often leading to higher water bills and potential damage to your bathroom floor. However, with the right tools and a bit of know-how, repairing a leaking toilet is a manageable DIY project that can save you both time and money. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a complete novice, you’ll find the information you need to tackle this common toilet repair issue and get your toilet back in working order.

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Identifying the Source of the Leak

First things first, let’s figure out where that pesky leak is coming from. Here are the most common sources:

Common Leak Sources

  • Base of the toilet: Water pooling around the base is a clear sign.
  • Tank-to-bowl connections: Check for drips or moisture here.
  • Inside the tank (flapper, fill valve): Listen for running water or look for internal drips.

Initial Inspection

Before diving in, do a quick inspection. Wipe down any water and keep an eye on where it reappears. This will give you a good starting point.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Gathering your tools and materials beforehand can make the process smoother. Here’s what you’ll need:

Basic Tools


  • Replacement flapper
  • Wax ring
  • Tank bolts and washers

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing Common Leaks

Alright, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of fixing those leaks!

1. Leaking from the Base

Turn off the Water Supply

Locate the shut-off valve behind your toilet and turn it off. This will prevent any more water from flowing in while you work.

Empty the Toilet

Flush the toilet to drain most of the water. Use a sponge to remove any remaining water in the bowl and tank. This part can be a bit tedious, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Remove the Toilet

Unscrew the bolts at the base of the toilet. If they’re rusty, a little penetrating oil can help. Carefully lift the toilet and set it aside. A pro tip: place it on an old towel to avoid scratching your floor.

Replace the Wax Ring

Remove the old wax ring from the base. This part can be a bit messy, but it’s essential for a good seal. Press a new wax ring onto the toilet flange.

Reinstall the Toilet

Carefully set the toilet back in place, aligning it with the bolts. Tighten the bolts evenly, ensuring the toilet is level. Over-tightening can crack the porcelain, so go easy.

Reconnect Water Supply

Turn the water back on and give the toilet a test flush. Check around the base for any signs of leaks.

2. Leaking from the Tank-to-Bowl Connection

Turn off the Water Supply

Yep, you guessed it—turn off that water supply again.

Empty the Tank

Flush the toilet and use a sponge to get rid of any remaining water in the tank.

Inspect Bolts and Washers

Tighten any loose bolts with your wrench. If the bolts or washers look corroded or damaged, replace them with new ones from your hardware store.

Reassemble and Test

Refill the tank by turning the water supply back on. Give it a flush and check for leaks.

3. Leaking Inside the Tank

Turn off the Water Supply

One last time, turn off the water supply.

Empty the Tank

Flush and sponge out any water left in the tank.

Check the Flapper

The flapper is that rubber piece at the bottom of the tank. If it’s worn or damaged, swap it out for a new one. It’s usually a simple clip-on fix.

Inspect Fill Valve

If the fill valve is the culprit, you’ll need to replace it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions—it’s usually a straightforward process.

Reassemble and Test

Turn the water back on, let the tank fill and flush. Watch for any leaks.

Preventive Tips

To keep your toilet in top shape, here are a few tips:

  • Regular Maintenance: Periodically check for signs of wear and tear.
  • Use Quality Parts: Using good-quality replacement parts can prevent future issues.
  • Prompt Repairs: Address leaks as soon as they are noticed to avoid bigger problems.

When to Call a Professional

Sometimes, DIY just doesn’t cut it. If the leak persists or if you’re uncomfortable performing the repair, it might be time to call Vaquero Plumbing.

Contact Information

Vaquero Plumbing is always here to help! Reach out to schedule your same-day appointment!

-Varshita Parupudi

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