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Why Your Toilet Won't Stop Running

Jun 9, 2016

Is your toilet running constantly? If it is, it may be wasting gallons of water every day which can dramatically increase your monthly water bill. Luckily, there are simple fixes to most problems causing the water to run constantly that don’t require a professional, or even tools.

How Does My Toilet Work?

The first step to fixing your toilet is understanding how it works. After flushing your toilet, the tank is refilled through a fill tube, lifting a float that will shut off the incoming flow of water once it reaches a certain level, while a flapper connected to the float by a chain seals off the tank from the toilet bowl. In order to figure out why your toilet won’t stop running, you’re going to want to check each of these components to ensure that all of them are working as intended. Before you do anything, you’ll need to remove the lid off of your toilet’s tank and prepare to get your hands wet.

  • Check the flapper. A very common issue that could be causing your toilet to constantly run is that the flapper may not be closing all the way. Fixing this could be as easy as reaching down and pushing it all the way closed. If you’re lucky, that’s all you’ll need to do to fix the problem.
  • Replacing the flapper. If simply pushing it down doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to replace the flapper altogether. To remove it, flush your toilet in order to completely drain the tank. Unhook it from the base of your tank and from the chain and pull it out. Before rushing to the store to buy a replacement, first check for any discoloration, mineral deposits, breaks in the plastic or rubber, or warping. If the problem is buildup on the flapper, a simple clean should fix your issue. If there’s a problem with the flapper itself, you’re going to need to get a replacement. Once you’ve picked a new one up, simply reattach the chain and hook it to the base of your tank.
  • Check the chain. If the chain connecting the flush lever to the flapper is either too long or too short, it may be the culprit behind your problems. Jiggle the lever to check the length; if it’s too short, it will pull up the flapper with minimal movement, and prevent a proper seal from being formed; if it’s too long, then it may interfere with the flapper closing at all. If you find that the chain is too long, simply move the clip down to shorten it. If it’s too short, you will need to replace it with a longer one. Make sure you know how long the chain you need is, otherwise you may accidentally buy the wrong length, necessitating a return trip to the store.
  • Check the fill tube. This tube runs from the fill valve to the overflow tube, and it channels enough water through the overflow tube to refill the toilet bowl between flushes. Make sure it’s properly connected to the fill valve, and make sure it’s properly positioned in the overflow tube. You’ll want to flush the toilet with the tank lid still off to make sure the water stream is going down the overflow tube.
  • Check the float. If it’s positioned too low, your tank won’t fill enough to produce a proper flush; if it’s positioned too high, water can spill over into the overflow tube, preventing the fill valve from turning off. In newer toilets, you simply need to slide a clip or turn a screw to readjust its height, but in older toilets you may need to bend a brass rod connected to the float. You want to position it about an inch below the critical level marked on the fill valve.

If none of these solutions worked for you, it may be time to call the professionals. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year in order to best cater to your needs. Our plumbers have a reputation for excellence, and have zero trip or overtime charges. Call us today at 888-794-0341 to set up your free in-home evaluation to receive a price quote.

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Categories: Plumbing, Bathroom Tips, Drains

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