What to do when your toilet keeps running

September 21st, 2018

toilet keeps runningA toilet that won’t stop running wastes a large amount of water and may keep you awake all night. You need sleep and do not need a sudden increase in your water bill. There are several reasons why a toilet will remain running and homeowners can usually solve the problem themselves even if the solution is only temporary.

The first thing you should check is to see if the float, float arm or valve at the base of the tank has become caught on something. Something a simple as a disc type toilet bowl cleaner can become hung up resulting in the valve not closing. Other times the chain can become tangled and it may be too short to allow the tank ball or flapper to seal. If the float is rubbing against the side of the tank it may cause it not to rise all the way, which allows the water to continue to run.

Check the alignment of the flapper or ball to make sure that it seats correctly when the tank is full. The ball cock or fill valve at the top may not be shutting off properly. This can be due to the float arm not rising or to a damaged part. If water is running into the overflow, the float arm needs to be adjusted so that it will rise enough to shut off the water. Some float balls screw on to the arm and you may be able to back the ball out slightly, turning counterclockwise, to shut the water off at a lower level. Float arms can also be adjusted by bending but this must be done carefully to avoid breaking them.

The valve on the bottom of the tank may develop a leak over a period of time. In this case replacement is necessary. Replacement kits are available in many combinations from just a float arm or flapper assembly to complete kits for a total overhaul. Remember to turn the water valve off to the toilet before attempting to take it apart. Your local plumber will be glad to help you solve the problem if you are unable to do the job yourself.

In emergency situations simply shut off the water valve to the toilet in between uses until the toilet can be repaired. You can also test for leaks in your system by adding a little non-toxic food coloring to the tank. This will make any leaks easier to find and cure. Then contact the plumbing experts at Whittier Plumbing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for assistance.

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