Toilet Leaking from Tank Bolts? (Why? How to Fix It?)

You might be fast asleep and wake up to the irritating sound of dripping water in your bathroom. On closer investigation, you realize that it is coming from your toilet. Finding the leak from this essential contraption might be difficult. Often, the culprit may be at the base of your toilet’s tank (the tank bolts).

Your toilet may be leaking from its tank bolts due to overtightened, rusted, or otherwise faulty bolts.

How to Locate Toilet Leaks  

Toilet leaks are pesky but easy to identify and manage. The toilet comprises two major parts: the tank and bowl. These parts are fastened by nuts and bolts and connected by a gasket and piping. Considering that the tank and bowl are hollow and function to hold water, any connection is a potential leak zone. 

To locate toilet leaks, you need nothing more than a keen eye. Depending on the cause of the leak, the location may vary significantly. For the leaks that run parallel to the toilet parts, follow them to their source to find the exact location of the leak. Occasionally, the water may deceptively run through several places before reaching the surface.   

After finding the leak, identifying the cause of the leak is the next concern.   

What Are the Different Causes of Toilet Leaks?  

Management may be in many forms depending on what caused the toilet leak. Toilet parts are strong and last long, but they are not free from occasional wear and tear or rare cracks. The following are probable causes for toilet leaks:  

A Crack in the Tank or Bowl  

Cracks in the tank or the bowl are rare. Yet, when they occur, they can lead to massive leaks. Not only will those leaks cause water damage on the bathroom floor but they will also rack up your water bill. The cracks usually begin as unnoticeable lines on the porcelain tank or bowl. Over time, the hydraulic force from the water contained widens and deepens the cracks.   

Condensation on the Toilet Surface  

If your bathroom shower is near the toilet, you expect the toilet surface to have a few droplets of water now and then. This condensation occurs when heated water from the shower comes into contact with the cold environment on the tank and bowl. Then, the droplets condense on the surface and trickle down.   

When you identify condensation as a cause of a toilet leak, there is no need to panic. The water will quickly disappear, leaving your toilet leak-free.   

Loose or Worn-out Tank Bolts  

The base of the tank is responsible for most toilet leaks. Tank bolts fasten the toilet tank to the porcelain bowl below. These bolts have rubber and metal flushes to keep the water from dripping out of the tank. But, occasionally, water corrodes them. This corrosion is worsened if you have hard water, causing the bolts to develop leaks.   

Whenever the tank bolts undergo routine maintenance or installation, they may be subjected to high pressure or overtightened. These steps cause the rubber to harden, making it more ineffective

Unfortunately, the force generated may also affect other parts of the toilet. The bowl underneath or the porcelain tank could crack and leak. Check that your tank bolts have not rusted or are overtightened, and if they have, there is still an easy fix for them. 

Faulty Gasket  

The rubber gasket offers the only connection between the tank and the bowl allowing water to move between the two components. Because of its position at the tank’s base and its rubber nature, the gasket is a common site for corrosion. Replace faulty or hardened rubber gaskets to prevent leaking toilets and water waste.   

Faulty Flush Valve  

The flush valve is another common site for toilet leaks. When misadjusted, the flush valve may leave spaces that allow water to leak out of the toilet’s tank. A faulty toilet bobber might exacerbate the situation further. The water in the tank continues to rise unchecked and overflows through any hole or weakness.   

In the case of a faulty bobber, the water may seep through the rim where the tank’s lid rests.   

Rusted Plumbing Connections  

Rust is a force of nature that eats away at metal parts until there is nothing left or management occurs. Most plumbing connections that supply and drain the toilet have metal that rust may corrode. These rusty components may leak once the rust bores a hole in the piping.   

Steps Taken To Manage Leaky Toilet Tank Bolts  

As mentioned earlier, leaky toilet tank bolts are manageable. The process consists of several steps, making it seem tougher than it is. Many steps are cautionary to prevent inflicting further damage. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your bathroom back to proper working conditions:  

Turn off the Toilet’s Water Supply  

Before carrying out any plumbing repairs or installations, you must clear the field. Remove all distractions, including flowing and stagnant water. For toilets, turning off the water supply is the best way to ensure your area of work is moisture free. 

Trace the pipe supplying the toilet’s tank to its source. It would be best if you came across a valve near the floor, but the location varies with different bathrooms. Once you locate the valve, turn it clockwise to ensure the toilet lacks its water supply. This step is also vital in minimizing water wastage as it prevents spillage while you work.   

Flush the Toilet  

Even though you cut off the water supply, there’s still water present. Water accumulated in the tank for the next flush may pose a hindrance when carrying out repairs. To get rid of this water safely, flush the toilet several times until no water comes out of the bowl after flushing. After completing this step, a residual amount of water may still be found in the tank. 

To remove the water left over in the tank, remove the lid and look inside. Sometimes, the water may be minimal, so a sponge will suffice to soak up the residual water. If there is a substantial amount of water, you may use a towel to soak it up. You can also empty the water into a bucket after completing the next step.   

Disconnect the Tank From the Bowl and Its Water Supply  

The next step toward replacing the leaky tank bolts is unfastening the toilet from the bowl underneath. This process should be a breeze with the water in the tank out of the way. Unscrew the water supply from its contact with the tank and unscrew the bolts at the bottom of the tank.   

For this step, you will need the following tools:  

  • Flat head screwdriver  
  • Adjustable wrench or rounded bolt remover   
  • Replacement bolts  
  • Replacement nuts  
  • Replacement washers   

Lift the Toilet Tank From the Bowl and Replace the Bolts  

Once you unfasten the bolts from the bowl, the next step is to take the bolts out and replace them with new ones. It is essential to keep in mind that not all bolts need replacing. Depending on the damage to the bolts, you may spray them with an anti-rust agent and put them back on. 

Rusted bolts may not turn when using the wrench or twist and not lift. In this case, you may proceed to use your hands to try and lift them off their bed.   

Replacing the bolts is a quick process and begins by taking off the old bolts. Refer to your manufacturer’s specifications on how the washers, nuts, and wings align. Despite the bolts being universal for all toilets, their installation might vary slightly.   

Replacing the Rubber Gasket  

The rubber gasket may occasionally be damaged by water or hardened by the pressure induced by the overlying tank. Leaks may develop when the rubber gasket is faulty, which warrants a replacement.   

To replace the rubber gasket, you must fix it when installing the tank bolts. Attach the ears of the rubber gasket to either tank bolt, then replace the tank with the bowl.   

Fasten the Tank Onto the Bowl    

After completing the replacement procedure, the final step is to fasten the tank bolts from below onto the bowl. You may begin this process using your bare hands. Completing it with the wrench ensures the bolts and nuts fit snugly. Remember to install rubber washers to prevent leaks.    

In Conclusion 

If you become irritated by getting your socks or house shoes wet every time you go to the bathroom, there is a simple fix to your predicament

For many, the solution lies with a plumbing company. Do-it-yourself fanatics and those looking to save a few pennies may prefer to personally replace the tank bolts.  

Explore the nitty-gritty of fixing your tank bolts, all while going over essential information that will help you keep your toilet floor water-free. For those who care to try, you will quickly find out that toilet leaks from the tank bolt are easy to manage. It rarely takes too much of your time, resources, or expertise.

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