Is your toilet running? No – this isn’t the beginning of a bad prank phone call. Running toilets are a common plumbing problem. And while it might seem like a minor annoyance, a running toilet can lead to larger issues in your plumbing system – not to mention an increase in your monthly water bill.
If your toilet is constantly running (or running longer than it should be after a full flush), the water level, flapper, fill valve/float ball, and flush valve should all be thoroughly inspected. You might need replacement parts or, in some instances, it could be more cost-effective to replace the entire toilet.
Four areas to check to fix a running toilet
1.Water level. If you have a constantly running toilet, you have a leak somewhere within the plumbing. The only question is, where?
To check the water level, open the toilet tank and draw a line at the water level using a pencil. Check back in approximately 60 minutes to see if the water level has dropped. You can also drop a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If the color makes its way to the water inside the toilet bowl, you have a leak in the tank.
2. Flapper. In many cases, the flapper is the fix to your toilet running troubles. The flapper valve is located within the toilet tank. To check the condition of the flapper, reach into the tank (the water here is clean) and check to make sure the rubber is soft and pliable.
If the flapper is brittle or feels stiff, it won’t provide an accurate seal on the flush valve. You’ll also want to check to ensure the chain connecting the flapper valve to the flush handle is the right length. If it is too short or too long, it can prevent the flapper from closing fully, allowing water to continue running.
3. Fill valve and float ball. The fill valve controls how much water is in the tank of your toilet. If the fill valve is broken or the float ball itself is leaking, it can lead to a running toilet. As a general rule, the water inside the toilet tank should be 1-2 inches below the top of the overflow tube.
4. Flush valve. If none of the above methods work to stop your toilet from running, the problem might be in the flush valve itself. The flush valve can be found in the center of the tank and keeps water inside the tank until you flush.
If the flush valve isn’t sealing correctly with the flapper or communicating properly with the fill valve and float ball, it’s likely time to replace this component. To do so, you will need to turn off the water supply to the toilet, remove the tank and bolts, remove the existing flush valve with pliers, and replace the part. This project is best suited for homeowners experienced in home improvement or a plumber.
Call a plumber to repair your toilet
If you have a running toilet, don’t ignore it and let water (and money) go down the drain. Instead, call the Amarillo-area experts at Pratt Plumbing. To schedule toilet repair service, contact us today at (806) 373-7866.