We understand that a running toilet isn’t exactly an emergency. It’s certainly an annoyance, though, and it can only get worse as time goes on. The noise of “phantom flushing” that a running toilet might make isn’t the worst of it, either. It’s the amount of water you waste every day you don’t get it fixed.
When your toilet is running, we think it’s prudent that you don’t wait too long to address the problem. Take action today with our expert tips. And call our team of qualified, experienced plumbers to get those toilet repairs taken care of as soon as possible.
Understand How It Works
Before attempting to diagnose or possibly fix the problem, you should know a little bit about how it flushes.
- The handle pulls a chain that lifts a flapper sealing the water in the tank off from the bowl.
- Water drains from tank to bowl as the flapper closes and a float goes down with it.
- When the float drops down, water fills the tank, stopping when it reaches a set level.
One possible (if not probable) reason for the trouble is the flapper valve. Reach into the tank and feel the flapper sealing the tank. It should be soft and rubbery, but it can harden over time due to mineral deposits and standard wear and tear. If this is the case, it’s probably not keeping a tight seal between tank and bowl.
All you’ll have to do is replace the flapper valve, but this may be difficult without experience. For the record, a new flapper or flush valve is available at any home hardware store, but a plumber can always do the job a little faster.
Other Potential Problems
There are many things that could go wrong with the flushing assembly of the toilet, even if it is not a complicated piece of equipment. Be sure to turn off the water to the toilet before repairing any of these problems, or call a plumber to make sure its done right.
- Broken fill valve: The valve that allows water to fill the tank after its drain may be broken, allowing water to come into the tank constantly and move into the overflow tube. This valve may need replacement.
- Broken overflow: The overflow tube may also be broken or cracked, forcing water to continuously refill.
- Water level problems: The float valve may be set too high, allowing extra water to enter the tank.
- Flapper chain length: The chain that’s attached to your flapper may be long and catching frequently, preventing the flapper from lowering properly. You can thread it through a plastic straw to stop this, or you can even replace the chain or take out links.
Bonus: Try the Dye Test
Not sure if your toilet really is running? There is a way to test it to see how severe the issue is. Simply get some food coloring and place a couple of drops in the tank part of the toilet. Or, you can buy dye tablets specifically for this purpose (just follow the package instructions).
Wait 15-20 minutes and check to see whether dye has run into the bowl. If so, you have a leak. The faster it bleeds through, the more severe the problem.