Plumbing & Maintenance - Leaking Toilets

Our top tips for fixing a leaking toilet

If your toilet or cistern is leaking you’re probably keen to get it fixed as soon as possible. First up, you’ll need to make yourself familiar with the inner workings of your toilet. Lift the lid off the cistern, give it a flush, and try to identify the following moving parts inside the tank.

The flapper

This is like a plug that gets lifted up (via a chain or a plastic arm) when you flush, and lets the water flow out of the cistern into the toilet bowl. If water continually trickles from the cistern into the bowl, the flapper may be wedged open. Check that the chain or plastic arm that lifts it up and down isn’t getting caught on something as this will prevent the flapper from closing properly. Give the flapper a clean to remove any built up residue and if you notice that it has perished you may need to replace the rubber seal.

The ‘float’

This controls the amount of water that is in the tank. When you flush the toilet, the float drops as the water drains. Once it hits the bottom of the tank it causes a valve to close the flapper so the tank can refill. If you lift the float and the water stops running through, you may need to adjust the float level.

The valves

The water valve controls the flow of water into the tank, while the float valve tells the flapper to open and close. If the water level in the tank is below the ‘fill line’, check that the water valve is fully open to ensure the tank is filling properly.

When should I call a plumber?

If you’ve inspected all of these parts and can’t see any obvious issues, it may be time to call a plumber. This is also the case if water is leaking from underneath your toilet or from the main seal at the back of the toilet, as these are more serious repair jobs.