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The Home Depot

Why is My Toilet Leaking?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Why is My Toilet Leaking?
Why is My Toilet Leaking?

A leaky toilet is an annoying, inevitable, and sometimes costly. How can you try to diagnose and potentially fix these problems at home before forking over your hard-earned money?


After consulting professional plumbers, we’ve compiled a checklist of potential fixes that could help to keep your bathroom dry and your wallet intact.

  1. 1.It may be the wax seal around the toilet.

    To know for sure, pay close attention to where the leak is coming from. If it’s pooling around the toilet, it’s probably the wax. There are housing repair stores that sell replacement wax to prevent further leaks, though you may want to ask a toilet repair pro to do any wax work for you, to prevent further leaks.

  2. If the leak is coming from somewhere other than underneath it could be a leaky valve, which may be able to be solved with a wrench and some elbow grease.
  3. 2.It might be one of the valves keeping your toilet tied to your bathroom.

    If the leak is coming from somewhere other than underneath it could be a leaky valve, which may be able to be solved with a wrench and some elbow grease. If you’ve tightened or replaced the bolts that bind the toilet to the floor, you might need a new wax gasket. As you tighten the bolts, make note of any rust or deterioration of the base of the toilet or of the bolts themselves. Even if these areas are not the current culprits, they could lead to further problems in the future.

  4. 3.It could be a cracked tank.

    Cracked tanks are common. If it’s just the lid and condensation is forming, you may need to order a new model of the lid from your toilet’s manufacturer, as lids are rarely sold in stores. IF the tank itself is falling apart, that could be a bigger problem. In that case, you may need a new tank or a new toilet altogether. Bummer.

  5. 4.You’ve got a sweaty bowl.

    Yep, that’s an actual thing. It’s the same principle as a sweaty water glass- when hot, sticky air meets the cool toilet water, you get condensation. Sometimes lots of it. The fix? There are “anti-sweat valves” which can help control water temperature. Keeping your bathroom cool can also help. Though it seems simple, a sweaty bowl can mean a big expense if not taken care of.

  6. 5.Make sure it’s actually the toilet.

    If you have a small bathroom and are noticing water pooling around the base of the toilet, be sure to fully investigate the source of the water before making any wild assumptions. A particularly tiny bathroom or an old building where the foundation is slanted can be misleading. You may actually have a leak in your tub or sink, and the water is merely pooling by the toilet. To be sure, check all pipes and valves on all of your bathroom appliances and pay close attention as you run your tub and sink to notice any leaking or excess spraying.

  7. 6.There’s a trick to tell for sure if your toilet is the culprit.

    Add some food coloring to the tank. Wait 30 minutes and see if the water in the bowl had changed color. If so, your tank is leaking into the bowl at the very least, and if your entire bathroom looks like an Easter egg, well then you know for sure. Just be sure to not leave colored water in the bowl too long, or you may stain the inside.


    Now that you are aware of some of the most common reasons for a leaky toilet, hopefully you can be better prepared in these awkward situations. After all, nothing says, “I love surprise visits from family!” more than a bathroom full of standing toilet water. That’s one way to get unwanted houseguests to stay in a hotel.

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