A running toilet can be an incredibly frustrating problem. In addition to the relentless sound of running water, you may also be worried about how much water your toilet is wasting and how this will manifest in your next water bill.
The American Water Works Association reports that toilets account for 45% of a typical home’s indoor water use. Even a small and relatively silent toilet leak can cause significant amounts of water to be wasted.
Depending on the water pressure going into your home, a running toilet could leak as much as a gallon of water per hour or more. This equates to around 26 gallons a day and 780 gallons a month.
How To Diagnose Your Running Toilet
Unfortunately, a running toilet is not always a straightforward issue to diagnose and correct. Before you look at your toilet or attempt any repairs on your own, be sure to turn off the water supply at the shutoff valve. However, it is always best to contact a professional plumber to ensure that nothing more serious could be causing the problem and to fix it effectively.
Outlined below are a few reasons that your toilet may be running to give you some idea of how extensive the problem might be.
Check The Toilet Tank’s Float Ball And Float Arm
When you take the top off your toilet tank, you might see a large plastic balloon at the top. This is what is known as the float ball, and it is connected to the float arm. When the tank fills back up with water after being flushed, the float ball rises to a certain point to tell it when to stop.
If you lift the float arm and the running stops, it could be that the float ball simply is not high enough to stop the water from running. It may be rubbing against the side of the tank, in which case you can bend the arm slightly to move it into a better position.
If it is not touching the side, however, the ball could have a crack that causes it to fill up with water and sink. Without the signal to stop filling, your toilet will continue to bring in additional water that goes into an overflow tube which feeds down into the bowl of the toilet. If this is the source of the problem, a float ball replacement will be necessary.
Look At The Toilet Flapper
One of the most common causes of a running toilet is a faulty toilet flapper. When a toilet is flushed, the lift arm in the tank rises and pulls on a chain or wire attached to the toilet flapper. This is what allows water to get into the toilet bowl. When enough water has exited the tank, the flapper should drop back down and reseal the tank.
Unfortunately, flappers or valve seals are prone to cracking over time, which means water will continue to seep into the toilet bowl and cause constant running. Although this is something that you may attempt to fix on your own, it requires great care, so it may be best to contact a plumber.
Another way to check if the valve is at fault is by adding some food coloring to the water in the tank and then replacing the tank lid. Avoid flushing the toilet, and then check the toilet bowl in 15 minutes. If you can see dyed water in the toilet bowl, it could indicate that it is time to fix your toilet’s flapper valve.
Look At The Chain
If your flapper is not sealing properly, it could be related to the length of the chain. If the chain is too long, it may get caught beneath the flapper. Fixing this is as simple as unhooking the chain and reattaching it at another level to make it shorter. However, it is important to avoid making it too short or the flapper will be unable to seal.
Call In The Experts
Although you may be able to find the cause of your running toilet on your own, it is a good idea to call your local plumber for expert advice. They should be able to assess the situation quickly and offer a solution, with many running toilet issues easily resolved with a quick plumbing visit.
Professional plumbers have many years of experience with running toilets and can ensure that the job is carried out correctly while preventing further damage from occurring. If you try any of these fixes and your toilet continues to run, you will need professional help.
Reach Out To The Experienced Northern Virginia Plumbers
If your toilet is running or you are experiencing any other type of plumbing problem, get in touch with the Northern Virginia residential plumbing professionals at Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling LLC. Their master plumbers are licensed, bonded and insured, so you can contact them with confidence to correct your emergency plumbing issues.