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Testing a Leaky Toilet Tank


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Barry Jolly is the owner of Jolly Plumbing, a full-service plumbing and drain company that serves clients throughout the greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas for more than 31 years. Here, Jolly tells us how a homeowner can test his toilet tank to see if it’s leaking.

When someone talks about having a leaky toilet, it’s always assumed that it has to do with water or the plumbing. However, the most common substance that a toilet can leak is actually sewer gas or odors, which is why homeowners shouldn’t just look for liquid on the floor when they inspect a newly-installed toilet.

Sewer Gas Leaks

When people are setting a toilet, the most common problem (if the job is done improperly) is that some amount of sewer gas leaks from the fixture. If a homeowner thinks this might be the case with his toilet, we can do tests to determine what’s really going on. We will first perform a smoke test, putting smoke down in a drain line and blowing it out with a blower. If any leaks are around the base of the toilet, the smoke will come through. It often costs clients $150 to have our company come over and perform a smoke test on their toilet.

We have done a lot of these tests because there is no other way for homeowners to detect themselves whether sewer gas is coming out of their toilets. So they have to call our company in to handle the job. Sometimes, people call us because they are sure that the sewer odors are coming from their toilet. But after we run the smoke test, they realize the odor isn’t coming from the toilet at all. Although toilets that were improperly installed are the most common reason for bathrooms or homes to have sewer gas issues, they are not the only reason.

If we determine that the odor isn’t coming from the toilet, we can test the whole plumbing system with smoke. You would be surprised at some places we finally find smoke coming out of. The smoke could come through a floor drain that was improperly sealed, or an old pipe that was cut off years ago but improperly capped.

Water Line Leaks

The next most common issue would be a leak in the water line leading to the toilet. If you are looking for water line leaks, you just need to get down on your hands and knees, get underneath the toilet and have a look. Flush the toilet and see what happens, and look closely to see if any water is coming out in places it shouldn’t be.

If stains are at the base of your toilet, that can mean that your toilet is seated improperly. If you have water seeping out slowly and causing stains, the wax gasket underneath your toilet might be set improperly. Usually, a problem like this would produce a small amount of water, but that could still be a problem. If you have a slight water leak on the connection from your water line to your toilet tank, the water will often seep down and build around the base of the toilet. So you will see some debris there, which can be another cause of the stains that appear the base of the toilet.

The base of a toilet is a common place for mold and dirt to build up because of the function of the toilet. Sometimes, the gunk that builds up there has nothing to do with a leakage problem with your toilet. So it’s usually best to check that yourself before paying for a plumber to come out to your house and inspect the whole system for a leak that may not even exist.

If you have a difficult job that others cannot handle, Jolly Plumbing is the company for you. With the most modern equipment available, Jolly Plumbing can handle any plumbing problem. Call us today.

Barry Jolly is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a or more articles at Yodle Local.


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