A Running Toilet Is No Joke

Is your toilet running? Maybe it signed up for a 5k; you’d better go catch it! A classic joke for a common household problem. Unfortunately, no homeowner finds a running toilet amusing.

The sound of constant running or cycling water in the tank is not only an annoyance, but that’s also the sound of money quickly leaking away. That’s because a running toilet is more than just background noise–it is an active plumbing leak that can waste gallons of water every day. Read on to learn what causes a running toilet, and how to fix and prevent them in the future.

Two Main Reasons Behind Running Toilets

There are two main things that are causes for a running toilet:

  1. The flapper: Also known as a “flush valve seal”, this is the plug that keeps water in the toilet’s tank until the next flush. If the seal had hardened or broken, water is able to leak out, causing the water in the tank to continuously have to refill.
    To test for a leaky flapper, take a paint stick and push down on the flapper. If the running stops, the flapper is the cause. Homeowners can also check the flapper chain to ensure it isn’t getting caught on anything and has enough slack (but not too much) to let the flapper create a good seal.
  2. The fill valve: After every flush, the toilet tank refills with water via the fill valve. If this component is leaking, then it is constantly running new water into the tank.
reasons behind running toilets

To test for a fill valve leak, flush the toilet. Check the fill valve for a leak. Adjust the float to see if the leak stops. If it continues, the fill valve is the reason behind the running toilet.

Basic Steps and Tools for Fixing Running Toilets

Flappers and fill valves are both available at most home improvement stores and come with instructions for installation. Most homeowners can complete the following steps themselves to fix a running toilet:

  1. Determine the cause, using the methods listed above.
  2. Purchase the necessary part(s) from a home improvement store. For flappers, homeowners may have difficulty locating a new one in the exact same size or shape. In this case, it is recommended to purchase a universal flapper.
  3. Replace the faulty component by installing the new pieces, per the instructions on the packaging. Be sure to turn off the water supply and empty the tank completely before installing a new fill valve. Some tools that may be needed while fixing running toilets are:
  • fixing running toiletsHacksaw
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench

For homeowners that are uncomfortable working on the toilet themselves, calling a professional plumber can save both the time and hassle of fixing running toilets.

Tips for Preventing Running Toilets

Making sure that all of the components in the toilet are working properly and efficiently is the only way to prevent running toilets. Leaks happen naturally as part of normal wear and tear, but by fixing problems early and not letting a running toilet run for very long, homeowners can avoid losing money as it trickles out to cause bigger damage down the road.

preventing running toilets

Additionally, if you need help, you can always contact a local plumber. Not only will they be able to help you with your initial running toilet issues, but also they can work with you to prevent these problems in the future.

About Heidler, Inc.

Heidler, Inc. has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award for twelve straight years. Their licensed plumbing and heating technicians offer unparalleled plumbing services in Annapolis and surrounding areas. Serving customers since 1947, Heidler, Inc. has developed a reputation for being trustworthy with its clients.