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How can I tell whether my toilet is leaking?

Plumbing Emergency or Plumbing Annoyance, it’s Never Good

Plumbing emergency

This is not quite the right way to test for a leak, but points for trying. Image via Shutterstock.

Sydney could stand to save more water! Toilet leaks are easy to diagnose and repair, saving you hundreds of dollars a year – if you know how.

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 60, 000 litres of water per year? That is equivalent to around 400 loads of washing! However, toilet leaks often go unnoticed as the water trickles down the back of the bowl.

Ten per cent of homes have leaks that can waste up to 300 litres of water per day.

Fixing easily corrected water leaks (of which toilet leaks are included) can save you around 10 per cent on your water bills.

 Suspect your toilet may be leaking? There are two ways you can test that theory – the food dye test and the water meter test. The latter test is generally for slower leaks. You should test your toilet for leaks every few months to ensure that it is not unnecessarily wasting any water.

The Food Dye Test

  1. Remove the lid of the toilet cistern.
  2. Drop in a couple of drops of food dye into the cistern.
  3. Wait a while – about 10-15 minutes. Put on the kettle, play some Flappy Bird, then come back.
  4. If the dye has seeped from the cistern into the bowl when you return, then your toilet has a leak.

The Water Meter Test

  1. Ensure that all of your water fixtures are turned off.
  2. Check the water meter and make a note of the number.
  3. Do not use any water for at least 30 minutes. Play an extra long game of Flappy Bird, or go for a long walk.
  4. Check the water meter again and compare the readings. If they’re the same, you’re leak-free! If not, turn off your toilets and repeat steps 1-3.
  5. If your readings match after the toilets have been shut off, then your toilet has a leak.

Toilet leaks are generally a result of the rubber valve in the cistern deteriorating – you will need a licensed plumber to fix this for you. However, a temporary solution is to install a toilet weight in the cistern.

Liked this post? You may also enjoy reading: “Green Plumbing: How Sydney Homes are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly”

Geoff James
Written By:

Geoff grew up in Berala near Lidcombe in Sydney and attended Birrong Boys High School where he finished his Year 10 school certificate. Geoff was encouraged by his uncle to consider plumbing as he had done a bit of plumbing work on weekends during his school years. DJ Childs Plumbing in Canterbury offered him a plumbing apprenticeship and he spent most of his time working on plumbing maintenance and new roofs on commercial sites. Geoff on Google+.