My toilet keeps running. Can I fix this without a commercial plumber?

Your toilet is a pretty important feature in your house and for the most part, it does what it needs to do without much trouble. But sometimes wear and tear catches up to the most reliable of home amenities. Over time, minerals build up and parts begin to corrode leading to one very common problem- your toilet keeps running. While it might seem difficult, most issues like this can be fixed easily, without a commercial plumber.

Most of the time this is a very easy issue to fix but first you have to diagnose the problem. Toilets are pretty universal in components. In the tank you have

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  • a flapper (a rubber piece that fits over a hole)
  • a lever that lifts up with you push the handle down,
  • a chain that attaches the lever to the flapper
  • a float–or ball–that measures the amount of water in the tank
  • and an overflow tube

 

To diagnose the issue, you will need to lift the cover off the tank, and flush. Watch to see if the chain gets tangled or the flapper fits into the hole snugly. If the flapper doesn’t set well, the tank will leak, running up your water bill and making an annoying noise.

Replacing the flapper is very easy if you can shut off the water. Most toilets can be shut off at a valve in the pipe that leads to the tank; others you might have to turn off the main water valve.

Once the water is turned off, flush the toilet to drain the tank. Once the tank is empty you can examine the flapper. Sometimes it just needs a cleaning, but if it looks worn or cracked, it will need to be replaced.  Note the size and shape of the flapper, or simply remove it by slipping it off the clips. Find a new flapper at a hardware store that looks the same size or purchase a universal one. Slip the flapper back on the clips–making sure that the flapper seats correctly–before turning the water back on.

While this fixes most problems, sometimes the floater or ball will need to be changed. Over time the float can develop leaks that cause the float to sit lower than normal. If you have the time and tools, this can easily be done yourself. If not, a commercial plumber is a very viable option!

If you are unsure on how to proceed or just plain don’t want to, call Henry Plumbing.

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