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.
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.
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.