If you hear the sound of water trickling every time you go into your bathroom, you may suspect that your toilet has a leak. If so, use the three steps below to verify this is the case, as well as discern the location of the leak. This test should be done when you can leave the toilet unflushed for a few hours, such as before your family goes to bed or out of the house in the morning.
Step 1: Prepare The Toilet Bowl
This first step involves preparing the toilet bowl before you start your test. To start, check to see if you have a colored toilet bowl cleaner in the tank. If so, remove it so it does not interfere with the indicator. Once you remove it, flush the toilet two or three times to clear the water in the tank.
Because the second step uses food coloring as an indicator, you can protect your toilet bowl by spraying it with nonstick cooking oil spray, since the coloring could stain some ceramic or porcelain surfaces.
To treat the bowl, flush your toilet, then turn off the water valve located behind the toilet. Then, spray the bowl and under the rim with a thin coating of the oil, and turn the valve back on before going to the next step.
Step 2: Use Food Coloring As An Indicator
Once your toilet is prepared, it is time to add food coloring to the back tank. The coloring serves as an indicator to see if water is leaking from the tank into the toilet.
After removing the tank lid, drop in two or three drops of any colored food coloring. Then, replace the lid, and let the toilet sit for a few hours.
Step 3: Interpret The Results
After the time has passed, look in your toilet bowl to see if there are any results. If the water in the bowl has changed to that of the food coloring, the leak is located in the tank itself. The flapper may have deteriorated and may need replacing.
If you do not see any change in the color of the bowl water, the leak may be located in the pipe leading to the tank. If this is the case, a plumber should inspect the pipes to locate the leak and repair it.
After performing the three steps above, you should have an idea where your toilet's leak is located. Once you have verified the leak, you may want to contact a plumbing service to find out what can be done to fix it.