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How To Fix A Leaking Toilet or Cistern

how to fix a leaking toilet or cistern


Signs of a leaking toilet or cistern

There are a few signs that your cistern may be having issues, especially if the bowl is overflowing. Though the water in a toilet bowl is clean, it could lead to water damage and potential slip and trip hazards. If your toilet cistern is overflowing and leaking onto the bathroom floor, it’s hard not to notice, but it is also a good idea to check whether the outdoor overflow pipe is leaking water if you are unsure. You can also check for a trickle of water at the back of the toilet bowl which is another sign there could be a cistern leak, or if you hear the sound of rushing water even when the toilet hasn’t been flushed. If the toilet bowl is filling to a large capacity, it’s likely there is a more severe leak. In some cases, it might not be a cistern leak at all, just condensation from warm air on a cold cistern, so make sure to check that too.

Accessing the cistern

There are lots of different types of toilet cisterns but they operate in a similar way so fixing them shouldn’t be too difficult. The toilet cistern is the tank at the back of a toilet that holds the water needed to flush. It will probably have a heavy lid and you will need to remove this in order to see what the problem is. Once you have removed the tank lid, you will need to turn off the water valve and allow the toilet to fully drain first.

Adjusting the valve

In some cases, the valve which stops water from filling the cistern needs adjusting and this is the cause of the leak. This is a relatively quick fix and should be the first thing you check when you go to fix a leaking cistern. To adjust the valve, it depends on what type of system you have. If it’s an older ball valve arm, gently bend it down by pushing the arm near the ball downwards and holding the arm near the pivot point. For newer systems, there will be a plastic float arm with an adjustment screw. Turn the screw anti-clockwise first, then anticlockwise to lower the arm and adjust the level of the float arm.

Checking for broken components

If that hasn’t stopped the leak there is a chance that some of the parts in your system will need replacing, but they are relatively cheap and easy to find in a hardware store or online. If you have already adjusted the valve and water continues to fill, it’s a good idea to replace the washers and these are usually found at the bottom of the toilet tank. You may also have a broken float that needs to be replaced and it’s important you get the right one for the type of toilet system you have.

How to replace broken washers

First of all, you will need to unscrew the inlet valve cap and use pliers to remove the metal pin. You will then be able to see what type of washers have been used and replace them. You can always take the old washers with you when you go to buy a replacement so you get the right ones. Replace the washers and make sure you re-assemble in the right order, washer nob first, then cap, arm and finally the metal pin. It’s also a good idea to adjust the valve again to make sure the water level is correct.

Descaling the mechanism

If your toilet cistern has a push button that isn’t working, it could be because of a build-up of limescale inside the mechanism. To dislodge this, try pushing the button quickly a lot of times or hold it down. It’s also important to check for any cracks in the cistern and check the pipes to make sure there isn’t a more serious issue and you need to replace the flush system.

Get in touch

If you’ve tried all these methods and you are still having problems with a leaking toilet or cistern, it’s a good idea to call a local plumber to help. If you need a plumber in Melbourne, Endpoint Plumbing offers a wide range of affordable and fast plumbing services. Call us today on 0478 800 689 and we’ll fix your leaking toilet or cistern in no time. Approve and download Or ask for changes