I Can’t Stop My Toilet From Running. Until Now

It is inevitable that everyone has to deal with a running toilet at some point in their life. Most of the time people just jiggle the handle to stop it, but as effective as that seems it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. The “jiggle the handle” solution might even stop working; at this point your toilet may strike back and will be on a constant run until fixed. If this goes unchecked, this will run up your water bill and cause your family a huge headache and a massive bill.

Fortunately, toilets haven’t changed much in the last 80 years or so, and fixing a running toilet is a relatively simple thing if you know what to look for. The key is to find the reason why your toilet is running and fix the problem accordingly.

Chain Problems

The most common cause of a running toilet has to do with the chain that connects the handle to the flapper, the cover that lifts to allow water in the tank to drain into the toilet bowl. If it gets twisted, it will constantly pull on the flapper even when the handle isn’t being used. This is also why jiggling the handle often fixes a running toilet; it shakes the chain and untwists it.

If jiggling the handle stops working, your problem might be a broken chain. This is an easy fix, though. All you need to do is purchase a new aluminum ball chain from a hardware store. Make sure to adjust the clip that attaches the handle to the chain so that it will always lift the flapper when you need it to.

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Flapper Problems

If the chain is the correct length and isn’t broken, your running toilet might be due to a warped or broken flapper. The flapper needs to form a tight seal to keep water in your toilet’s tank, but it can warp or even break at the hinge. If this is the case, you will have to buy a replacement flapper from a hardware store. Flappers are inexpensive and easy to install, so this is an easy fix.

A toilet will sometimes run if the flapper is dirty. If this is the case, simply remove the flapper and clean it off. Look it over and remove any grime or mineral deposits that can form if you have hard water. Be careful not to damage the rubber on the flapper or you will have to make a trip to the hardware store.

Poor Float Position

When you flush your toilet, water is supposed to fill the tank until it reaches the overflow pipe and then stop. The reason why it stops is because of the float that is attached to the pump. The overflow pipe will prevent your tank from actually overflowing, but a poor float position will keep your toilet running until it is fixed. The simplest way to fix is to bend the rod that connects the float to the pump until the float stops at a higher level. You should be able to bend the rod easily with your bare hands, but a pair of pliers may be needed if the rod is too stubborn.

These are the most common causes of a running toilet, and they can all be fixed fairly easily. As always, never hesitate to contact Mister Sewer  if you feel uncomfortable trying to fix any plumbing problem. It’s always best to have a professional look at your toilet or pipes before you do something that does too much damage to your home. We will be more than happy to come out and take a look at your running toilet. Give us a call at 412-835-2135 if you run into these common drain issues.

 

4 Plumbing Myths Costing You Big Bucks

Deciding between what is true and what a myth is can be a job in itself. We are here to debunk a few myths that are so widely expressed seem to be facts. Now, as resilient as homeowners across the country think their pipes and drains are, it doesn’t take a lot to create a full-scale emergency that requires the services of a licensed plumber. It doesn’t help that there are plumbing myths and misconceptions that refuse to die. These myths can cost a family thousands of dollars in repairs, so we’ll attempt to put them to rest once and for all.

Myth: Lemons Clean Garbage Disposals

Yes, lemons seem to be an almost universal ingredient in cleaning products, but they should never go down your garbage disposal. Lemon rinds and other citrus fruits can wrap themselves around a disposal’s blades and create a stubborn clog. Said clog may smell wonderful, but that doesn’t change the fact that your garbage disposal is now useless and your sink is backed up.

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Myth: Running Water Will Force Anything Down a Drain Safely

While running water down your drain is never a bad idea, it doesn’t change the fact that there are still some things down there that shouldn’t be. Water won’t stop cooking grease from congealing and clogging your pipes, and it will probably make things worse if you’re trying to wash pasta or rice down your kitchen drain. A serious clog will stop water from going down a drain altogether, so running your sink with the hopes that the offending material will be dislodged and flow safely into your sewer line will just give you a flooded kitchen or bathroom.

Myth: As Long as Something Goes Down the Drain, You Won’t Have to Worry About It

People take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to sending anything down a drain. Things can get stuck on the walls of your pipes, and in time that will create a clog that you won’t be able to see. If you notice that your sink is draining more slowly than usual, you have a clog in the making somewhere in your plumbing. It’s best to have these problems fixed sooner rather than later. It’s much easier to repair a slow drain than it is to unclog one that is completely stopped up. Being proactive instead of reactive is the best bet when it comes to your drains.

Myth: Plumbing Fixtures Require No Maintenance

Far too many people believe that their plumbing requires no maintenance. As long as their sinks drain properly and their toilets flush without any trouble, they assume that everything is in proper working order. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Tree roots can invade older sewer lines, old pipes can burst if they freeze and clogs can build slowly over time. Ignoring your plumbing for too long – even when things seem to be working just fine – can lead to expensive repairs down the road.

Just like everything else in your home, your plumbing needs occasional maintenance if it is to keep working like it should. If you think your home even has the beginnings of a plumbing problem or if it’s been a few years since you’ve hired a licensed plumber, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Mister Sewer to come out and take a look. Preventive maintenance is always cheaper and less stressful than an extensive repair. Give us a call at 412-835-2135 if you run into these common drain issues.

 

Don’t Ever Put This Down Your Drain

No matter if you are renting or owning, it is imperative to understand how to care for the drains in your home. While it is sometimes tempting, or even easy to forget, your sinks and toilets are only designed for very specific types of waste. Putting other items down the drain can lead to damage, blockage, corrosion, and contamination. Here is an overview of the top things that should certainly not be finding their way down your drain.

Other Toiletries

While toilet paper and the occasional Kleenex are ok to flush down the toilet, other bathroom toiletries are not. This includes cotton balls, q-tips, facial wipes, body wipes, baby wipes, tooth floss, band aids, sanitary napkins, and paper towel. This probably can be easily solved if you take the time to go out, buy a small trash can, and place that trash can directly next to your toilet.

Grease, Oil, and Fat

Small amounts of grease, cooking oil, and fat will inevitably find their way down your drain, but you should never intentionally pour them down the drain. Even if poured down the drain in their liquid form, these substances can and will turn in to a solid in your pipes—creating a blockage that will need repairing in the very near future.

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Corrosives, Paint, or Any Non-Food Liquids

Corrosives poured down your pipes have the power to eat away at your pipes creating costly damage. There are many other liquids that are not ok to pour down your drains. This includes oil, car products, cleaning chemicals, paint, paint thinner, and nail polish remover. Not only can these products damage your plumbing lines, but these toxic liquids will be fed right in to local streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Cat Litter—Even the Flushable Formulas

While designed to be flushable, even flushable cat litter can create many problems in your plumbing lines—and in your septic system. Instead, scoop and toss it out in a garbage can. When cleaning your litter boxes, put a drain catch over the bathtub or sink drain you are using to make sure that none of the clay or clumping liter finds its way down your plumbing lines.

Hair

You will shed hair when showering and shaving, which is why it is a great idea to install a drain catch to your bathtub. That being said, never intentionally put hair down the drain. Even when cleaning the hair out your hairbrush, don’t flush—but instead throw it out in a trash can.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds might be small, but they can create some major problems in your drain. Just as with grease, oil, and fat, a bit of escaped granules here and there are not likely to cause a problem, but intentionally throwing them down the drain is another story. If you haven’t noticed the common solution here then we will say it again. The solution to all your problems can be solved using a trash bag as often as possible.