What do you do when you have a running toilet? The first step you should consider is determining the root cause or the reason behind the running water issue and finding the best solution. Usually, a running toilet means you’ll need one of three things – a new fill valve, flush valve, or flapper. However, before calling a plumber, one thing to check is the flapper. That is because the flapper can get calcium built up underneath it, preventing it from sealing properly. When your toilet is constantly running, then it means that your toilet system is faulty. Read on to learn more about the possible causes of a running toilet and the things you can do to fix it.
To better understand or comprehend the root cause of a running toilet, you must understand how your toilet works. First, the water is directed into the toilet tank via the fill valve and is prevented from running back with a flapper. Once the toilet tank fills, the float rod reaches the required water level, and the fill valve stops the water flow. At this point, you can flush the toilet. Typically, a running toilet can be caused by one of these problems:
Faulty flush valve and flapper: The main purpose of the flush valve is to allow water to flow into the bowl by opening the flapper and then closing the flapper to allow the tank to refill after a toilet flush. A faulty flush valve may lead to a water overflow.
A faulty overflow tube: An overflow tube is connected to the flush valve and prevents the tank from overflowing in the case where a fill valve doesn’t turn off. The excess water flowing into the overflow tube can also cause the toilet to run continuously.
A faulty fill valve: The fill valve is designed to control the water flow into the toilet tank from the main water supply. However, a faulty or broken valve may continuously allow water to flow. In this case, the excess water is directed into the overflow tube to prevent the toilet tank from overflowing, but the toilet will continuously flow.
Fixing your running toilet is straightforward and relatively easy, but you might encounter some trouble dismantling the toilet and putting it back together if you’re a beginner. A toilet project is therefore suited for someone that has some plumbing experience. So, how do you stop a running toilet? Here’s a step-by-step process to help you fix your toilet.
Test if the Flapper is Faulty and Replace it
A faulty flapper causes most running toilet problems. The toilet flapper deteriorates over time, allowing water to trickle through its once-tight seal. Slightly push down on the flapper to test the integrity. If your toilet does not stop running, it means your flapper is okay. If your toilet stops running immediately, you will have identified the cause of your running water, and the next step will be to replace the flapper. Before you replace your flapper, turn the water off using the shut-off valve beneath the toilet tank to stop the water supply to the toilet. Then flush your toilet to drain the remaining water into the toilet tank and bowl. Lastly, remove the faulty flapper and follow the installation instructions from your replacement flapper.
Important tip: If your new flapper has a long chain, you might need to shorten it. If the chain is too long it can get caught underneath the toilet flapper, then you won’t be able to achieve a perfect seal, and your toilet will continue running.
Inspect and Replace Your Flush Valve
If the water flow from the toilet tank doesn’t stop seeping into the toilet bowl, or the overflow tube is short, then your entire flush valve might be the problem. If the problem lies in the flush valve, you’ll need to replace the whole flush valve. First, turn off the water flow from the shut-off valve and drain your toilet tank. Disconnect the flapper, remove the bolts connecting the tank and bowl, and take out the old flush. Loosen the toilet’s flush valve nut and install a new flush valve before tightening the flush valve nut. After fixing the new flush valve, reconnect the toilet water supply and check for any leaks at the tank’s base to avoid accidental water damage. You can then flush the toilet to ensure that the new flush valve allows the toilet tank to fill up and confirm if the flapper is installed correctly.
Check Your Fill Tube
If your flapper’s integrity is okay, the next step is to check if the overflow tube is the root cause of the non-stop running of your toilet. A fill tube is a small plastic tube that runs from the fill valve to the overflow pipe or tube. Check whether the fill tube is underwater and cut it back, and this way, the tube will clear the water level.
Check and Adjust the Toilet Float
There are two main types of toilet floats, the cup float, and the ball float. How you fix your toilet float will solely depend on the kind of float on your toilet. To adjust a cup toilet float, you’ll first need to locate how the float adjusts, which is often through a “pinching mechanism.” You’ll slide the float down to the central tube, where it sits. On the other hand, the ball float may be a simple fix; you may just need to bend its arm.
Check Your Fill Valve and Replace It if It’s Faulty
If your flapper, float, and fill tube are all in good condition, then the problem is probably the fill valve. Check whether your toilet’s fill valve has a leak or is broken. Replacing the fill valve is a lot easier than installing the flush valve. You will drain all the water from the toilet tank and soak up the excess water with a towel or cloth. Ensure the tank is dry and remove the water supply line and the channel locks. Take the faulty fill valve by gently unscrewing the lock nut at the tank’s bottom and install the new fill valve following its manual. Lastly, reconnect the toilet water supply, and the fill valve should immediately start filling the tank until the toilet float reaches the appropriate level.
If you need to replace any parts of your toilet, ensure you find parts that are compatible with your toilet to avoid causing more significant problems during the repair process. Also, bear in mind that the cost of new parts is relatively minimal and will help you save cash on future toilet repairs and even water bills. If you have no prior experience with plumbing, consider seeking help from a plumbing expert to avoid more damage.
Are you experiencing problems with fixing your running toilet? Fixing a running toilet can sometimes be stressful, especially if you have no clue about what you’re doing. Having an experienced plumbing expert come over will save you the hassle, as they will inspect the situation and figure out the cause. This way, the root of your running toilet issue will be fixed quickly to prevent future damages. If you’re experiencing running toilet problems or emergencies, contact us today and put a stop to your running water.