How to Fix a Leaking Toilet or Cistern?

Do you find yourself getting a little bit stressed every time a drop of water is wasted during Gold Coast’s hot summer months? We definitely do.

In a dry state like ours, most of us grow up taking care with every little drop. That’s why a leaking toilet can be a cause of stress. Every drip is wasting water, which is not only bad for the environment but also affects your water bill!

Whether you’ve noticed your floor staying slippery and moist around the clock or the cistern runs like it’s training for the city-to-bay marathon, there are a few steps you can take to get your toilet flushing normally and make sure you’re only using the water you need.

For help with fixing your leaky toilet or running cistern, give the qualified plumbers at Ultra Plumbing and Roofing a call today!

So where do I start?

First off, if you don’t have any plumbing experience, you might find it easier to flush the toilet a few times with the tank lid off to see how the process works. Each toilet can be a little different, so this will help you to understand what needs to be done.

(If you’ve been working on your own plumbing for some time, you might like to skip ahead a bit. This is for the budding handymen and ladies among us.)

Usually, when you flush the toilet it causes a chain or link arm to lift a device called a ‘flapper’, which lets the tankful of water cascade into the bowl. A float will drop as the water drains. It’s connected to a valve that controls when water is let into the tank. When the float gets to the bottom, it tells the valve to close the flapper and fill the tank back up with water. You should also be able to see an overflow tube that drains water out of the cistern into the pan if it gets too high.

Problems that might be causing your toilet to run or leak

The flapper


The flapper might be stuck open, letting water constantly trickle through into the bowl. It can be caused by the chain or link arm catching on something in the tank or the flapper itself getting caught. The flapper might just be wedged open or not aligned correctly with the opening. You’ll need to adjust it slightly to make sure it settles back in place after being lifted by the flush. If it’s old, worn or has built-up sediment, you might need to carefully clean or replace it altogether. Sometimes the rubber seal needs to be replaced.

The water valve


Check to see if the water in the tank is at the water line. Not having enough water means the float may need adjusting. To fill it up properly, always make sure the water valve is turned on all the way.

The float valve


If you’ve already tried the above step, test to see if the float valve is shutting off properly. If you pull up on the float and the running stops, you’ll need to adjust the level of the float or the washers in the inlet valve may need replacing. Excessive pressure can also create overflow problems. (Yes, even toilets can’t handle the pressure sometimes!) Adjusting the valve might mean moving the float down slightly, ensuring it’s not touching or obstructed by anything else or turning screws on top of the valve. It depends on the model of toilet that you have. If your problem has more to do with leaks outside the toilet than in the bowl, the cause is likely to be outside of the cistern. Leaks to the floor will eventually impact floor surfaces and potentially damage your property, leading to costly repairs, not to mention wet feet when you visit the bathroom.

The drainage system


If it seems like the leak is coming from between the toilet and floor, it’s likely that you’ve got a problem with the drainage system. This is a little more difficult to solve and requires removing the toilet completely. We recommend getting a professional plumber like Mott Plumbing to come and take care of this one for you.

Broken flushpipe seal


If the leak seems to be coming from a little higher up, the seal between the tank and the bowl is likely worn and needs to be replaced. You need to lift the tank away from the bowl to replace the seal. Again, if you’re not completely comfortable with your plumbing skills, we suggest calling professional plumbers to get this repaired.   If these fixes don’t seem to be doing the trick, it’s time to get the professionals in. If you have an older cistern or toilet, it might even be time to replace it.



If you are still stuck and need help, never fear, give the qualified plumbers at Ultra Plumbing and Roofing a call today!