• Geoff Burke

3 Ways To Fix Your Running Toilet... Without Leaving Home!



Hello again and welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber!”. With the new stay at home orders, everything has once again shut down, leaving you longing for those weekend Home Depot trips. Even though stores have closed, things still need repairing! This is where I can help 😊. This week, we’re going to talk about 3 ways you can fix your running toilet, without even leaving the comfort of your own home!


There is nothing that wastes more water than a constantly running toilet. Many of you have called complaining of extremely high water bills, or have called to let me know that the City has called you to warn you of your impending doom come your next utility bill! In many cases, those running toilets mean you are literally sending your hard earned dollars down the drain. Here are 3 things you can do on your own to try and fix that running toilet:


1. Adjust and Clean the Flapper


In most cases of a running toilet, the flapper is the one to blame. Over time, flappers will simply break down, warp, twist, and even harden enough to not properly seal the water in the tank. This will cause a toilet to refill itself every few minutes, hours, etc., seemingly on its own!


First turn off the water, then disconnect the flapper and chain from the handle as well as what is called the “flush valve” at the bottom of the toilet. Using dish soap, give the flapper a gentle scrubbing to remove the buildup of any scale or other debris. Check for cracks, warps, etc. Once you’ve done this, simply reattach it the way you found it and turn the water back on to the toilet. If it works, great! If not, then unfortunately you will need to replace the flapper altogether.


2. Adjust the Chain


The chain that links the flapper to the handle may also be the cause of your running toilet. Thinking of the mechanics of the toilet, when you push down the handle to flush the toilet, this actually lifts the chain and subsequently the flapper, allowing the water to flow from the tank to the bowl, then into the drain.


We’ve seen many instances where the chain has been installed incorrectly, either being too short, or too long. If the chain is too short, it won’t allow the flapper to properly seal the tank, letting water flow down into the bowl. If the chain is too long, there is a good chance that after you flush, some of that chain will become lodged between the flapper and flush valve, also not allowing the flapper to seal! To fix this, simply adjust the length of the chain where it attaches to the handle by adding or removing a few links at a time. Eventually you’ll find the sweet spot where the toilet flushes properly!


3. Check the Fill Valve


The fill valve is the part on the left side of the tank that allows the water to flow back into the tank after you’ve flushed. This is controlled by a “float” which after getting to a certain height shuts the water off. Sometimes these floats can become stuck against the side of the tank, or even stop working properly as a result of scale buildup. If the float is sticking, try to clean any scale you can see. Unfortunately, lubricants don’t seem to work very well most of the time, but you can also give it a try!


That’s it for this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber”. If you have a toilet that is still running after you’ve tried these steps, then unfortunately it means that you may have to call the plumber after all! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you next time 😊.

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