Do I Have a Running Toilet?

Home Plumbing Troubleshooting

Do I Have a Running Toilet?

A “running toilet” is a toilet that seems to keep filling with water after a flush for longing than it should. They’re one of the most common minor plumbing problems we encounter. Often, the problem seems so minor that homeowners may let it go unaddressed. Unfortunately, however, if you leave your running toilet alone too long, it’ll cease to be just a “minor” problem. Instead, it’ll drive up your water bills, damage your pipes, and more. Long story short: if your toilet won’t stop running, it needs to be fixed.

When running toilets become real problems, it’s usually because homeowners didn’t know about them until it was too late! For many homeowners, running toilets seem like such a minor problem that they’re difficult to notice. You don’t see the trouble, so you don’t call it in until the trouble is unfortunately much more noticeable. You don’t want that to happen, which is why you should know how to spot a running toilet. Here are the reasons why running toilets happen, and how you can spot them without a doubt:

There’s a problem with the flapper or flush valve.

Several problems cause running toilets, but the flapper or flush valve are always the most likely culprits. Flappers or flush valves naturally wear out over time, so can fail in any toilet. A flapper is the rubber cup at the bottom of the tank. When you flush, it opens to let water into the toilet bowl. If it’s broken, then water will enter bowl repeatedly and the tank won’t fill properly. A flush valve is the device that helps empty your toilet tank when it’s full.

You can see if it either of these devices aren’t working properly easily with the help of a little food coloring. Simply add a few drops of food coloring into your toilet’s tank and wait 20 minutes. If the food coloring in the water migrates from the tank to the bowl, then you have a leak. This leak is happening because either your flapper or flush valve is broken. Either way, your plumber can fix it easily. When we arrive, just tell us about your food coloring test and we’ll know what to do.

Something’s wrong with the flapper chain.

The flapper chain connects the flapper of the toilet with the toilet’s handle. When you depress the toilet’s handle, the chain lifts the flapper up. Lifting the flapper allows the tank’s water to fall into the toilet bowl, triggering the toilet’s flush. If the flapper chain is too long or too short, it won’t lift the flapper properly.

If the chain’s too short, it’ll keep the flapper from closing properly and create the constant running problem. If it’s too long, it’ll catch on the flapper seal or twist up around itself. Either way, the wrong chain will keep your toilet running too long. Luckily, re-adjusting your toilet’s chain is a quick and easy repair for your local plumber. Just tell us you think it’s the chain and we’ll take care of the rest!

Something’s wrong with the overflow tube.

There is a small flexible tube that runs from your fill valve to the toilet overflow tube. When your tank refills after a flush, this tube pushes water out to fill the bowl.

If the tube gets disconnected or the stream is misdirected, the bowl won’t fill and the tank won’t empty. Professionals can replace or reattach overflow tubes quickly and easily.

Your toilet handle could be corroded.

When you flush the toilet, does the handle stay stuck in the down position longer than it should? If it does, it could be corroded. Corrosion happens naturally with age and wear-and-tear.

As long your handle sticks in the downward position, it’ll also hold the flapper open. As long as the flapper’s open, water from the tank will enter the bowl. The fill tube will keep adding water to replace that water, and the toilet will keep running. A professional will fix this problem by replacing your toilet’s corroded handle.

If you have a problem with your toilet, don’t hesitate to call The Pink Plumber. We’ll help you get your bathroom back in working order in no time.