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Is Your Toilet Constantly Running? Here’s Why and What to Do About It


Toilet Constantly Running

Would you believe that your toilet is the heaviest user of water in your home? Toilets use almost 30% of the water consumed in the average home. A constantly running toilet will use even more.

Is your toilet constantly running? That’s irritating and worrying. Read on to learn why it’s happening and what you can do about it.

Is Your Toilet Constantly Running?

A running toilet makes a distinctive sound. You’ll hear the water trickling or flowing into the water tank and out into the toilet bowl. This sound is continuous as the system is not switching off the flow of water as it should do.

The first thing is to be pleased that you only have a running toilet. You could have something much more difficult to resolve like a clogged toilet. This is a simple problem to diagnose and resolve.

There are several possible causes of this common problem. The solution may be simple for you to resolve yourself. Even if you can’t fix the problem it will be easy for a professional plumber to do so.

Why Is Your Toilet Running?

A continuously running toilet could be caused by a malfunctioning flapper seal. It could be cracked or worn.

A further culprit could be a failing float ball or float arm. If these don’t work together to stop the flow of water when the tank is full your toilet will continue to run.

The chain that lifts the flapper could be at fault. If it is the wrong length it may not allow the flapper to close.

Why Does It Matter?

A continuously running toilet might make an annoying noise but is that the only reason to do something about it?

Continuously running water is a waste of water. Modern toilets have been designed to reduce the amount of water used to maintain hygiene levels while conserving water. A continuously flowing toilet defeats the objectives of that effort.

Conserving water is worth doing. Water is a resource that has an environmental impact. Processing it, supplying it, and dealing with it after it has been used consumes resources and energy.

Reducing any waste is good for the environment, and in this case will help you save money as well.

If you are paying for your water use, a running toilet is costing you money. Unless you are happy to spend money on water that you pour down the drain, you probably would rather fix the problem.

A running toilet can also be damaging to your water bowl. It may result in scale deposits inside your bowl. This makes your toilet more difficult to clean, harbors germs, and looks unsightly.

Flapper Problems

The flapper seals water inside the toilet tank. Look inside the tank and you should see the flapper raise when you flush the toilet. A chain or wire pulls it up when you flush to release water into the bowl.

The flapper should drop down into place when enough water is released. It should seal the water tank preventing any more water from leaving the tank.

If the flapper is worn or cracked it won’t form a seal. Water will escape into the bowl. If this is the case you need to fit a new flapper.

Switch off the water supply to the toilet tank. Flushing the toilet.

Soak up any remaining water with a sponge or rag. Detach the flapper and replace it with a new one.

Turn the water supply back on. Let the toilet tank refill and test the toilet. If the water has stopped escaping into the toilet bowl you have solved the problem.

Float Problems

A problem with the float could explain why water keeps entering the toilet tank. Water fills up the toilet tank when you flush it. As the water rises a float ball rises.

The float ball is attached to an arm. This arm is in turn connected to a valve. Once the ball float reaches a certain height the valve is engaged and the water stops flowing into the toilet tank.

Test the action of the float ball and arm by taking the top off the tank and watching what happens after you flush. First, the ball should fall as the water leaves the tank into the bowl. It should then rise as water fills the tank.

If the float arm doesn’t switch off the water inlet valve it will continue to fill the tank. The water will escape from the toilet tank through an overflow tube. This leads into the toilet bowl causing the continuous stream of water in the bowl.

If the ball is not rising it could be because it is catching on the wall of the tank. Bend the float arm so that the ball float moves freely.

If the ball has a crack it may be filling with water. If it does fill with water, it won’t float. You will need to replace the ball.

Chain Problems

There’s a chain that lifts the flapper. If it is too long it may get caught under the flapper and stop it sealing. If it’s too short it won’t allow the flapper to fall back into place.

Check the length of the chain. Adjust the length if necessary.

Something Else?

If none of the above resolves your constantly running toilet problem there may be a more serious issue. Perhaps the whole valve and ballcock assembly need fixing or replacing.

Replacement kits are available and come with instructions. Alternatively, engage a professional plumber.

Simple Solution

If your toilet constantly running is getting you down, follow this simple guide. You may be able to fix it. If not get it fixed and you’ll appreciate the silence as well as the lower water bill.

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