A Dripping Noise From the Toilet

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Leaks and other problems can cause the toilet to produce a dripping noise.
Image Credit: boonchai wedmakawand/Moment/GettyImages

A dripping noise from the toilet is one of those minor inconveniences that can nonetheless drive you absolutely bonkers. When your toilet falls silent after you flush it, or when your house is silent in the middle of the night ... you hear it, and it doesn't stop. There are a few things that could be going on. Finding the source of the dripping noise is easier once you know where to look.


Dripping Sound Equals Wasted Water

When you hear a dripping noise from the toilet, you're hearing your toilet wasting water. This is why it's so important to address the sound quickly rather than letting it go unchecked for weeks.

With dripping water faucets, you can stop up the sink or bathtub and check on the amount of water that has gathered after an hour or so, giving you an idea of how much water the water drip wastes. With toilets, though, you do not have the option of capturing the dripping water so you can have a visualization of how much water the toilet wastes. Addressing the problem promptly, though, will stop the water waste sooner, keeping your water bill smaller than if you were to let the toilet continue dripping.


Leak in Toilet Tank

Sometimes a dripping noise from the toilet is caused by a leak in the toilet tank. There's a simple food coloring trick that will help you identify if this is the cause.

Carefully take off the toilet tank's lid, and set it in a safe spot since the lid will crack easily if dropped. Wait until the toilet's tank sits silently, and drop three or four droplets of food coloring in the water. Use the darkest color of food coloring you have available since colors like yellow may be difficult for you to see in the water. Wait 20 minutes, then check the toilet bowl; if any of the color is apparent there, you have a leak in the toilet tank and parts will probably need to be replaced.


Flapper Needs to Be Replaced

Flappers often cause a dripping sound in the toilet when they first begin to wear out. The flapper controls the flow of water out of the tank and into the toilet's bowl since it covers the large drain opening in the bottom of the toilet's tank. Replacing the flapper is an easy fix. You only need to remove the flapper from the hinge it pivots on inside the tank, unhook its chain from the arm, and install a replacement flapper to stop the dripping noise.

Fill Tube Problem

If you use the food coloring test and find no leaks in the tank, and your flapper is working properly, the source of the leak is likely the tube from the fill valve that sends water down the tank's overflow tube. This valve may need to be replaced.


When the fill valve refills the tank with water, it uses a small tube, which sits over the overflow tube's opening, to refill the bowl as well. Sometimes the small tube can fall down into the overflow tube, and water starts to siphon out of the fill valve, causing the dripping sound. When you purchase a new fill valve replacement kit, it should come with a small clip that attaches to the overflow tube and the small tube from the fill valve, keeping the small tube from falling inside the overflow tube.



Steven Symes

Steven Symes has been writing for six years. His articles have appeared on a number of websites, including some regular columns. Symes has been writing professionally since 2005. He currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University and is partway through an Master of Arts in English at Weber State University.