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Having a toilet cistern leaking can cause a lot of problems and stress. If it is your only toilet then it is especially problematic. But as well as the issues of needing a working toilet, there is the issue of wasting water which is not good for your bank balance or the environment. Maybe your cistern is constantly going or you have noticed a wet floor? Here are some steps to assess and fix this common toilet problem.

Understand what is happening

Whether the toilet problem you’re troubleshooting is with a leaking toilet cistern inlet valve or something else, the first thing you might do is to flush a few times and look at what happens. Take the lid off the tank so you can see what happens. There are different types of toilets so there can be a little difference between each one. Commonly when you flush there is an arm on a chain in the cistern that lifts what is called a flapper. This lets the water cascade into the toilet bowl for the flush.

As the water drains there is a float that drops and is connected to a valve that controls when water comes into the tank to refill it. When the float gets low enough it tells that valve to close the flapper and to refill the tank. There is also a tube for the overflow that should drain water if the pan fills up too much.

Issues that can commonly happen that lead to a leaking toilet cistern

Different issues can happen with the different parts of the cistern. They include:

  1. A problem with the flapper – Sometimes the flapper can get stuck in its open position and then it just constantly lets in water and that causes the constant trickling sound. It might be that the chain or arm gets caught in something or the flapper does. Sometimes it might be that the flapper is not properly aligning with the opening and needs adjusting. If there is a build-up of sediment then it may need a good cleaning. If it is old or rusted then it will need replacing. There is also a rubber seal that might need replacing and that is how to fix a leaking toilet cistern.
  2. The water valve might not be set correctly – Make sure the water is at the water line in the tank. If there is not enough water then this might mean your toilet cistern leaking onto the floor is because the float in the tank needs adjusting. Make sure that the water valve is completely turned.
  3. The float valve not shutting off – If you have tried adjusting the float valve then you might need to test that it is properly shutting off. If you pull on it and the running ceases then if the level does not need adjusting on the float then in the inlet valve the washers might need replacing. How to fix a leaking toilet cistern depends on if the problem is inside the toilet or outside of it.
  4. An issue with the drainage – If you have a toilet cistern leaking onto the floor there is a chance the issue is with the drainage. This is harder to fix and definitely needs a professional toilet repair by a local plumber. It means you remove the toilet and that is best left to an expert.
  5. A damaged seal – When the problem is a toilet cistern leaking and the leak seems to be coming from higher up the system then this could be a problem with the seal of the flush pipe. The tank needs to come away so you or rather a professional can replace that seal.


Keep in mind that any work done with your plumbing system that is more involved than lifting a valve in your tank needs to be handled by a licensed local plumber near you. If you are dealing with a leaking toilet cistern you know they will be able to quickly assess the issue, and their repairs or replacements will be to code, safe and done correctly. When you look for a professional to help check they have the experience and try to spend a little time doing some homework so you find the best person for the job.

Need help with your toilet cistern? Then Gold Coast Plumbing Experts are the team to call on! They are ready to help anywhere on Gold Coast and beyond including Helensvale, Pacific Pines, Coombabah, Hope Island, Oxenford, Parkwood, and Runaway Bay. Get in touch with our friendly team today.