A toilet that leaks can be annoying and create additional expenses on your monthly water bill. In addition, it can be time-consuming to have to manually flush your toilet at times that you don’t have the time to spare. Instead of creating additional stress and wasting money, you can fix this problem with a few quick fixes.
If your toilet won’t stop running, our plumbers have compiled simple fixes that you can do to fix this common plumbing problem. Your toilet will be back to functioning properly in no time after you find which issue is causing the leak in your toilet. And if you need additional help along the way, we’re here.
Reasons Your Toilet May Be Running
You may be able to easily identify that your toilet has a leak, or you may not know. Sometimes, a running toilet is accompanied by a smell, or it’s completely odorless.
Whether there’s an odor or not, a running toilet is audible, so you’ll be able to tell something is wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your toilet may be leaking.
The Flapper Valve Is Dirty or Broken
A flapper valve is an essential part of a toilet, so when it malfunctions, problems are sure to arise. The flapper is what allows the toilet to complete the flush cycle. When you press the toilet handle down, the flapper valve transports the water from the tank into the bowl so that it refills.
A dirty or broken flapper could be the reason behind your running toilet. Over time, dirt and rust can accumulate on the flapper. Flappers can also disintegrate from water erosion, causing them to crack and not function as they should. While most flappers have a sustainable life span of five years, it’s possible for them to need replacement before then, which can be costly.
Poorly Connected Flapper Chain
The flapper chain (or toilet lift chain) is another very important part of the toilet. It connects the handle you use to flush the toilet and the flapper valve we mentioned above. When it works as it should, it creates a perfectly synchronized process that allows you to flush the toilet.
But when the chain isn’t connected properly, it can cause a running toilet. This can be because it’s not the right length, or that it’s attached too tightly or loosely.
If you aren’t aware that this is what’s causing your running toilet, you may resort to manually flushing your toilet, which can be a hassle. Choosing a replacement toilet flapper chain isn’t too difficult, and our plumbers will be happy to help you figure out which chain you need.
A Float Ball in the Wrong Position
A toilet float ball is responsible for keeping the water level in the toilet tank at the right level. The water level of the toilet tank will match wherever the toilet float is. If the toilet float ball is too low, the toilet bowl will not be able to refill and may get moldy.
When the toilet float is placed too high, it can make your toilet leak. Too high of a toilet float can also lead to an overflowing toilet, so it’s important to have your toilet float at the correct level.
How to Fix a Running Toilet
Now that we’ve gone over the most common problems that can cause a running toilet, we’ll take a look at how to fix them. If you have any additional questions about these fixes, our plumbers will be happy to answer them.
Fixing a Dirty or Broken Flapper Valve
If your toilet’s flapper is just dirty and not rusted, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean. Before doing so, drain the toilet tank so that it’s free of water, and then unhook the flapper from the chain. Make sure to wear rubber gloves when you clean it to avoid getting any bacteria from the toilet on your hands.
If the toilet flapper is faulty, you’ll want to replace it. It’s best to find a flapper that is the same brand as your toilet or a universal model of a flapper. When you’re looking for a flapper valve, make sure the one you buy is the same shape and type of flapper valve that your toilet has. The final step is to place the flapper into your toilet and make sure that it fits correctly.
Fixing a Poorly Connected Flapper Chain
The first step to fixing a flapper chain issue is to see how it’s actually connecting to the flush lever and the flapper. Once you see how it’s connected, shake the toilet handle to see if the chain is too tight or loose.
In the case that it’s too long, you can cut off the excess length of the chain. Most toilet chains can be cut with pliers. After you cut it, re-attach it to the flapper and the toilet lever and test it.
If your toilet chain is too short, you can get a replacement chain. Until you get a replacement, you can make up for the shortness of the chain by linking paper clips or using a string that’s a strong material, and then test it. A toilet float may be attached to the chain. You can easily adjust it so that it sits on the surface of the water.
Repositioning the Toilet Float
To fix the position of a toilet float, locate the fill mark on the inside back of the tank. Make sure to make a mark on the overflow tube. If there’s no fill level mark, make a mark about one inch down on the overflow tube.
After you mark the fill level, turn on the water, flush your toilet, and watch where the water stops in relation to the fill mark. If the water stops above the mark, the float is too high. You should adjust the toilet float so that it sits at the toilet’s fill mark.
How a Leaking Toilet Affects Your Water Bill
A running toilet can take a serious toll on your water bill, making your water bill higher than it needs to be. If your toilet is leaking a lot, you may be paying around an additional $200 a month, that’s around an excess of $2,500 per year!
For a minor leak, it would be about an extra $70 per month, which adds up to $1,000 extra per year. Even though it’s not a huge amount of money per month, if there are simple fixes, why should you pay extra?
Not to mention the amount of water a running toilet can waste. If you have a toilet leak, you could be wasting around 6,000 gallons of water per month. As Arizona residents, we all cherish and know the value of quality water. If your toilet is running, it’s best to fix it as soon as you can to save money and our state’s water.
Need More Help? We’re Available 24/7!
If you’ve tried all these fixes and your toilet is still running, it might be a different and more complicated issue. We can also help you decide which flapper valve replacement will best fit your toilet. At Plumbing by Jake, we have years of experience, and we are on call all day and night, so we’ll be around when you call.
We are passionate about fixing any plumbing issues you have, whether it be toilet issues or beyond. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a service appointment, give us a call or fill out the form on our contact us page.