If your toilet continues to make noise after flushing don’t ignore it. This could be a sign that there is an internal leak. Even if it isn’t an internal leak, it is still a clear sign that the water is still running and your water bill is increasing.
There are some DIY steps you can take to try to diagnose and remedy the problem.
First, remove the lid from the top of the toilet and familiarize yourself with the different parts and how they work.
When you push the handle (8) it lifts the lift arm or chain (9) which lifts the flapper (6) and the water from the tank drains (12) into the toilet bowl flushing the toilet. Water then comes in through the fill valve inlet tube (2) and fills the tank via the tank refill tube (4). As the tank refills the float (1) lifts with the water and the bowl fills with clean water via the bowl refill tube (5) and overflow tube (7).
It is a beautiful process and one of the marvels of modern sanitation. However, when one-part stops working you can get a toilet that doesn’t stop running.
- Flapper: One of the first steps you should take is to test the flapper. If the flapper has hardened it is probably not sealing. There is an easy way to tell if the flapper is leaking. Get a long stick, like a stick used to stir paint, and when you hear the water running push down on the flapper with the stick. If the water stops running, then you know you need to replace the flapper. Flappers, and most of the parts of the toilet can be found at the hardware store. To replace the flapper you need to first shut off the water supply to the toilet. Flush the toilet to remove the water and then remove the old flapper. Install the flapper and connect it to the chain.
- Flapper Chain: If the chain is too short then there is too much tension on the flapper and it may not be sealing completely. If the chain is too long it may be getting caught under the flapper preventing a seal. This is an easy fix . . . adjust the chain length.
- Leaky Fill Valve: You will need to turn the water back on for this step. Flush the toilet and observe whether water is spraying in from the top of the fill valve area (11). If the fill valve is leaking it will need to be replaced. This is more complicated to fix but can be done by a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. Turn the water supply off and completely drain the toilet. Have a bucket handy! There will be an inch of water still at the bottom of the toilet. With your bucket handy, disconnect the water supply to the toilet, disconnect the fill valve by unscrewing the valve locknut at the bottom, and then lift out the bad fill valve. Insert the new fill valve and tighten the locknut (make sure it is tight!). When installed, you need to make sure that the overflow pipe isn’t higher than the critical level mark on the new fill valve. If the overflow pipe is higher you will need to use a saw to shorten the overflow pipe one inch lower than the critical level mark. If you are having a hard time identifying the critical level mark make sure to refer to the instructions that came with the new fill valve. At this point, you will need to connect the fill tube to the fill valve, but also make sure that it is ½ inch above the water line. If it is not you will need to shorten it and then attach it to the overflow pipe with equipment that was included with your new fill valve. Make sure to read the instructions that came with the new fill valve. It will provide important installation information particular to your model.
- Water level is too high: If the water level is set too high then that means that water keeps flowing into the overflow tube. There are two ways to fix this. What most people do is bend the float arm until the water level is where they want it. However, most toilets have an adjustment screw located at the end of the arm that can be used to adjust the arm. If your toilet has a fill valve without a float then there should also be a screw located on the valve that will allow you to adjust the water level.
Running toilets are normally an easy fix, but if none of these steps above are working, or you just want the finesse and know how of an expert, give our tech’s at Reichelt Plumbing a call and we’ll stop that toilet from running and wasting water.