A leak in your toilet isn't always visible. Parts inside the tank can cause your toilet to leak water into the bowl. This can start to get expensive, as the toilet will then constantly refill itself. These internal leaks often originate at the flush valve on the inside of the tank. Before you crack open your tool box, try using Vaseline to stop a toilet leak.
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Toilets may look complicated, but their operation is simple. The water supply for your home hooks up to a fixture called the fill valve inside the toilet tank. A float attached to the fill valve rides up and down on the water inside the tank. Pressing the tank handle lifts the flush valve in the bottom of the tank. As the water rushes out of the tank, the float lowers, which turns on the fill valve. As the tank fills, the float rises and eventually cuts shuts down the fill valve at a predetermined level.
The flush valve in a toilet consists of the overflow tube and the toilet flapper assembly. A chain hooked to the top of the flapper runs up to the toilet tank lever. The flapper fits into the outlet at the bottom of the tank. A thin lip running around the underside of the flapper helps keep the flapper aligned in the outlet hole and sealed tightly.
One of the common causes of a leaking toilet is a bad flapper on the flush valve. Because these flappers are constantly exposed to the water inside the toilet tank, they can eventually begin to wear out. If the edges of the flapper start to crack or wear, the flapper won't seal properly when it seats back down on the flush opening. This can cause the toilet to constantly run as the fill valve refills the tank as the water runs out into the bowl.
Using Vaseline to Stop a Leak
Turn off the water supply for the toilet at the water supply valve. Flush the toilet so that all the water inside runs out. Remove the tank lid. Wipe up any water left inside the tank with a sponge. Lift the flapper and prop it against the overflow tube. Apply a light coat of Vaseline around the rim of the flush valve opening. Lower the flapper and restore the water supply by opening the supply valve. Replace the tank lid.