Ok, we get it, that line might have been funny way back when we were 12, but truthfully, there really isn’t anything funny about a “running” toilet. Consider this:
- A leaky toilet will waste a great deal of water which will, of course, run up your utility bills.
- A leaky toilet has a greater chance of overflowing and causing a water leak
- If you have a septic system, a constant flow of water can flood the septic tank and cause the drain field to saturate and fail
Any or all of those items can result in a bad situation in a fairly short amount of time, so it behooves us all to check on a “running” toilet as soon as it begins to happen. Many times, the cause is nothing more serious than a part in the toilet tank not sitting correctly, other times, it has nothing to do with the parts in the tank at all. For this reason, we should all take a “running” toilet seriously. Luckily, there are a few simple things that you can check on the inside of your toilet’s tank which can help you avoid potential leaks and overflows (and potentially expensive septic system repairs).
Check the fill valve
The fill valve, or ballcock is designed to shut off the water flow to the tank once it has filled up. If water keeps flowing through the overflow tube, you may need to adjust the amount of water going into the tank.
Check the flapper
The flapper creates a seal around the flush valve, which is how water flows into the toilet bowl. Many times, when a toilet is “running”, it’s just a matter of the flapper not sitting correctly over the flush valve. Giving the toilet handle a quick “jiggle” is often times enough to correct the problem. Be sure to check that the flapper isn’t visibly worn or hardened, and that the chain hasn’t become tangled up or broken.
Check the flush valve and lever
The flush valve can also become damaged or corroded over time. Water can slowly leak into the toilet bowl and cause the tank to refill. The flush lever, which includes the handle and arm inside the tank, also needs to be in decent shape to avoid leaks. Be sure it’s not bent or broken.
Check the float
There is a plastic float which drops as the water level drains and rises as it fills up again. While the toilet is “running” gently pull that float up a bit to see if this stops the water flow. If the flow stops, simply adjusting the height of the float should solve the issue. If pulling the float to full height does NOT stop the flow, you may have to replace the entire valve.
Many folks are perfectly comfortable changing out fill valves and floats and flappers, so a quick trip down to the local home repair store will get you well on your way. If you are NOT comfortable with making that type of repair, or you can see nothing wrong with your toilet tank parts, give CrewPros a shout at 901.221.4033, and we will be happy to come on out and help you catch your “running” toilet.