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Checking for Water Leaks....

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Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe, flapper or tank valve inside the tank. If you saw water moving in step (1), simply replacing the flapper will likely solve the problem. If water could be seen moving at the bottom of the overflow tube in step (2) there may be water siphoning from the fill tube if it is sitting down in the overflow tube. This can be resolved by lifting the fill tube above the water level. OR – it could be that the tank valve is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. If the water level in step (3) comes back HIGHER than pre-flush, or the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl in step (4), it may indicate the flapper needs to be replaced. If the level comes back LOWER than pre-flush, the tank valve probably needs to be replaced. Once you confirm everything is working properly, make sure the water level in the tank is properly set. The water level should come up to about a half inch or so below the overflow pipe. Adjust the float level control screw, if necessary, so the valve shuts off the water at the lever.
  • Without flushing, look at the water in the bowl.
  • Still without flushing, remove the lid and look straight down to the bottom of the overflow pipe, a flashlight may help, to make sure there is no water moving. If water is seen moving in step (1) or (2) above, your toilet is likely leaking.The toilet is one of the most common culprits for water leaks but its leaks tend to be less noticeable than others. Although water may not be seen or heard running, your toilet may have a silent leak. To determine if your toilet is leaking, follow the steps below:
  • Mark the water level in the tank then flush. The water level should come back to the same spot as it was prior to flushing. If the water level does not come back to the same level, your toilet is likely leaking. If everything looks good to this point you can skip to step (4) below.
  • To test for a silent leak, drop a little food coloring into the tank. DO NOT FLUSH! Wait for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a silent leak. It is probably located in or around the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank.


For leak detection, turn all water-using appliances off so that no water is being used anywhere in the house. Then check the position of the meter dial and wait. If after 30 minutes the dials haven’t moved—congratulations! You have a relatively watertight home. But if the dials have moved, start checking your connections, faucets, and especially toilets for water leaks. If you have everything turned off and are sure the toilets and connections aren’t leaking and yet the dials are still turning, you may have a hidden leak in an underground pipe. If you believe this is the case, you may need to call a plumber for assistance.

If there is an Emergency and it is after regular business hours please call the Cal Pines Fire Department and someone will be available to help. (530) 233.1151 

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