Toilet Leaking: Ottawa Homeowner’s Survival Guide

Leaking toilet in residential home in Ottawa
Is your toilet leaking? That's a problem you should fix as soon as possible. Waiting to fix any kind of water leak will inevitably lead to worse problems, but those outcomes are avoidable. If you've noticed changes in how your porcelain throne is working, it's best to call a professional. For a toilet leak, Ottawa plumbers are your best bet.

The potential complications of toilet leaks include many unpleasant situations. If your toilet leaking isn't already enough of a problem, you might also have to worry about damage to your bathroom floor from that leak, or from an overflowing bowl. Some toilet leaks could also spread bacteria from wastewater. Plus, any undetected, constant leak will have an inevitable effect on your water bill.

If your toilet's leaking, Ottawa plumbers are always ready to help. The experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa are ready to meet your needs for both professional advice and professional plumbing services. If a problem related to your toilet leaking is simple enough, you may be able to fix it yourself with some expert tips, but if your situation is more serious, or if you're not prepared for plumbing work, then our team of experts is here to provide the services you need.

Toilet Leaking Ottawa: Investigating the Problem

Not all toilet leaking situations in Ottawa are identical. If you spot puddles around your bathroom floor and you suspect it might be related to problems with your commode, there are four specific problems you should look for. A thorough inspection for each possible location and type of toilet leaking issue will help you identify problems on your own, and save time if you need services from a professional plumber.

Running Toilet Leaking (Toilet Tank Leaks):

One common issue in Ottawa homes is a constant leak from your tank into its bowl. This problem is often called a running toilet because one of the warning signs is a sound that makes it seem like your toilet is running constantly. The reality is that it's leaking.

Potential Signs of a Running Toilet:

  • A constant sound of running water in your toilet
  • Irregular water cycling, sometimes called “phantom flushing”
  • The water level in your bowl rises constantly
  • Hissing sounds when you flush

Where to Check for Running Toilet Trouble:

In the case of a running toilet leaking, Ottawa homeowners should remove their tank's cover and check a few components located inside. Start by inspecting the height of your fill valve's adjustable float. It should line up with markings on your overflow tube—about three centimeters below the top of the tube. If your floater is too high, water will continue to spill into your overflow valve and your fill valve will keep running to compensate.

If your floater is set correctly, then your issue likely lies with either your flapper or its chain. A flapper is a small plastic seal at the base of your tank that opens and closes when you flush. If its chain is too short—or if it's tangled up—your flapper won't close properly and water will continue to flow into the bowl beneath.

If your chain is adjusted properly, then your problem is likely caused by a worn flapper. As toilet flappers age, they slowly deteriorate and weaken, making the seal they provide falter and fail. That rate of decay is often increased by chemical cleaners used by some Ottawa homeowners. Limescale and other types of buildup can also make a flapper less effective over time.

Leaking from the Base:

Puddles of water on a bathroom floor are not unusual in Ottawa homes, but they shouldn't be permanent—or mysterious. If a puddle appears near your commode, then you may have water leaking from your fixture's base. There are a few steps you can take to confirm your suspicions.

Start by cleaning that puddle. If it has an unusual smell, ensure that you wear a mask, safety goggles, and rubber gloves, as there could be wastewater leaking from your bowl. Once your puddle is cleaned, keep an eye on the area where it was and look for any signs of leakage. You want to pay particular attention to where any puddles come from. It could be from your fixture's base, but it could also be from a crack in your bowl or damage to your supply line.

If there are no other clear areas of damage, then that floor puddle is likely coming from beneath your fixture. There are two common causes of that problem in most Ottawa homes. Both floor flanges and wax gaskets are meant to prevent this type of flooding, but if they fail, those faults will lead to puddles. In each case, to investigate further and complete repairs, you will have to remove that fixture entirely.

Leaking from a Crack:

Cracks in a porcelain throne should be a major cause of concern for anyone in Ottawa—especially if there is water coming from those cracks. A cosmetic hairline crack on a tank's exterior might not be a major problem, as long as it's small and not leaking. However, almost every other kind of crack should be investigated by your professional plumbers.

A toilet leaking through a crack indicates a crack that goes completely through both sides. That means your fixture's structural integrity is seriously compromised. A crack in your tank could lead to a total collapse or break that causes serious water damage. A crack in your toilet bowl is even more serious because that bowl is responsible for supporting not just the weight of the whole unit, but also anyone sitting on it.

Damaged Water Lines:

Did you know that your toilet has its own dedicated water supply line and that its line could be leaking? Because of their inconspicuous location, few Ottawa homeowners pay much attention to their bathroom supply lines, but if a line behind your commode cracks, bursts, or breaks, you won't fail to notice. Smaller parts attached to those lines, like their fittings and valves, could also cause issues if they fail.

This isn't specifically a toilet problem, but moisture from damaged supply lines and failing valves in Ottawa often travels along those lines toward the base of a fixture, and make it seem like your toilet is leaking when it's really a pipe or line behind it. That's why it's important to check your supply line when you notice nearby puddles.

A toilet leaking from its supply line could be caused by loose fittings, worn washers, or stripped threads in your supply line connections—those areas where supply lines connect to your fixture and wall. If those faults aren't your culprits, then your supply line itself could be cracked or ruptured.

How Do I Know Where My Toilet is Leaking From?

An easy way to identify the source of puddles from a toilet leak is by cleaning up those puddles and performing a visual inspection. Once that puddle is gone, it will be easier to look for areas where moisture is seeping through cracks or from underneath a fixture. Of course, any Ottawa homeowners who are struggling to identify issues with their plumbing can get professional inspections from a team of local plumbers.

The Dye Test

If you want an extra test to confirm your suspicions, or you need a test to check your tank's flapper valve, all you need is a few drops of food coloring, found in many Ottawa kitchens and available from most grocery stores. Squeeze a few drops into the area you suspect might be leaking—either the tank or bowl—and wait. If there is a toilet leaking issue, that colored water will seep out, giving you a clear indication of where your toilet is leaking from.

Toilet Leaking Ottawa: Fixing the Problem

With a little skill and experience in home repair, there are some types of toilet leaking repair that anyone in Ottawa can complete on their own. However, if you're uncomfortable with plumbing repairs—or you don't have the necessary time, tools, and experience to get the job done right—then it's best to call your local licensed plumbers.

Turn Off Your Water

No matter what kind of plumbing repair you're attempting, you should always start by turning off your water at the closest valve. For fixing toilet issues in Ottawa, that means closing the valve at the base of the line behind the fixture. If you suspect that it may be necessary to remove the fixture, such as with a toilet leaking from its base, or you'll be working in your tank, then you should also empty all the water from your tank and bowl.

The easiest way to empty that fixture entirely is by holding down the flush handle until your tank and bowl are nearly empty. Once those levels are too low for flushing to be effective, you'll have to use a cup and a sponge to remove any remaining water.

Constant Running:

To fix a running toilet, all that may be necessary is a simple adjustment to your fill valve's float or the chain attached to your flush handle. Ensure that the float is set to match the correct water level. Flapper chains should be slack enough to let the flapper close but tight enough to open it when you push the handle.

If the chain and float are working properly, then you'll have to replace the flapper valve. Remove it by disconnecting the chain from the flush handle and then sliding the flapper off the pegs on either side of the overflow tube.

It's best to take your old flapper with you when purchasing a replacement so that you can find a close match. Many replacements will also come with a new chain, but if yours doesn't, you can either keep your old chain or purchase a replacement. These components are all readily available at most Ottawa hardware stores. Once you have your new parts, simply install them by sliding the replacement valve onto the overflow tube's pegs and attaching the new chain, ensuring that it's properly adjusted.

Damaged Water Supply Lines:

For issues with your valve fittings or washers, simply disconnect the line and replace them. Be sure to have a bucket nearby to catch any water in the line after you shut the supply valve. For stripped threads, you can wrap the plumber's tape around the area to create a better seal, although that's only a temporary solution to delay replacement. For broken water supply lines, replacement is as simple as removing the line by loosening the fittings, taking it to the store to purchase a replacement, and installing the new line.

Toilets Leaking from the Base:

To complete this kind of repair, you'll have to remove your fixture from your floor. For that reason, it's best to leave this job to experienced plumbers. However, it is something that Ottawa homeowners can do on their own. If you're confident that you can get repairs done without spilling liters of water across your bathroom floor or damaging your toilet, then you may not need a professional.

After emptying your tank and bowl, you must disconnect your supply line. Then you should pry any caps off the bolts at the base and remove the nuts with a wrench. After that's done, grip the rim of your bowl and gently rock it to break the seal. Finally, lift it away to inspect the flange. If your flange is broken, it should be replaced, or repaired using a flange repair strap. If your gasket is worn or broken, it must also be replaced.


Small, cosmetic, hairline cracks can be resealed with plumbing epoxy. However, for any serious cracks, the only option is to replace the entire fixture. That means any Ottawa homeowner with a toilet leaking from a crack will have to replace the whole thing. That crack is a serious structural issue. Continuing to use the fixture would be a serious safety hazard for both the people using it and your home itself.

Do You Need Repairs for a Toilet Leaking in Ottawa?

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa can get the job done. Whether you have a cracked toilet bowl or a cracked pipe in your home, we've got the skills and experience to help. We provide a wide range of services for everything from fixing slab leaks to clearing clogged sinks.

Call us today to schedule an appointment with our team or learn more about our Ottawa plumbing repairs. We proudly serve communities throughout Ottawa and the National Capital Region, including Gatineau, Nepean, and many nearby areas.