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Running Toilet Flushes Your Hard Earned Cash

running toilet
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A running toilet may seem like a minor inconvenience, but in reality, it can cause serious problems with taxing side effects on both your water bill and the environment. Read on to find out more about the common causes of running toilets and how to identify why it is running and what you can do to stop it.

Is Your Toilet Running?

There aren’t too many visual signs that your toilet is running, and therefore it’s important to pay attention to some of the more obvious ones. If you suspect your toilet is running, an easy test you can do is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and don’t flush the toilet for 20-30 minutes. If there is coloring in the bowl, then your toilet is leaking.

A running toilet can manifest in different ways, such as water running constantly, water cycling on or off and/or irregular “phantom” flushes. After you flush your toilet, if instead of a gurgling sound you hear a hiss, your toilet is likely running. You should act quickly if you notice this as it can result in wasted water, a very high-water bill and potential flooding, which can lead to mold and other damage that will have to be repaired.

If your toilet is running, the first thing to do is turn off the water supply valve that can be found under the toilet, or turn off the main supply if the valve is leaking. Typically, running water in your toilet can waste up to 25 times more water than a shower leak. When a problem arises with a toilet it is usually connected to the tank.

Common Causes Of A Running Toilet- Faulty Tank Hardware

  1. A common cause of a running toilet is damage to the flapper – a common symptom of the phantom flush. A toilet tank has a flapper. A flapper’s job is to hold the water in the tank, and allow the water to move from the tank into the bowl when the toilet is flushed. The flapper reverts back to its place in the tank once the flush is finished.

    Flapper problems include:

    • The seal of the flapper is broken, allowing water from the tank to seep around the flapper and into the bowl.
    • The flapper is brittle or old.
    • The flapper or tank has acquired sediment, preventing it from completely closing. This allows water to drip into the bowl from the tank.

    If enough water leaks out of the tank, the filling mechanism is triggered and the tank refills, resulting in a constantly running toilet.

  2. Check the connection between the flush lever and the rubber flapper. Sometimes the chain can be too short and so it will constantly pull on the flapper, even when the flapper is stationery. In contrast if the chain is too long, it can interfere with the flapper closing. The chain can be replaced to fix the problem.
  3. A sticky flush valve that requires you to wiggle the flush handle up and down after you flush usually indicates there’s a problem between the flush handle and tank ball.
  4. Another common cause of a running toilet is a damaged, dirty, warped or broken float. This can be replaced. When you flush your toilet, the tank stops filling below the overflow pipe. However, when your toilet is running, the water will go over as the tank continues to fill. In most cases this means your pump is higher than it should be. A float can be adjusted or replaced, depending on the situation.

If you’re not comfortable with DIY or unsure about how to fix your running toilet, it’s best to consult a professional. In addition to fixing any obvious problems with your toilet or tank, they can identify if there are any other underlying issues or serious problems that need to be addressed, while conducting a plumping inspection. Call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric at 1-800-475-1504 now for all your plumbing needs.


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