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Fixing a Running Toilet

toilet-open-buttonWe’ve heard the old joke many a time: “Is your toilet running? Then you better go catch it!” It’s a classic, but it’s worth noting that a running toilet can be a serious issue (not that we’re adverse to a bit of toilet humor every now and then). In fact, according to the EPA’s WaterSense resource pages, a running toilet could potentially leak about 200 gallons of water a day! Think about how many dozens of showers, laundry loads, or dishwasher cycles that could have been.

We think it’s important to fix a running toilet as soon as you can in order to protect resources and keep your monthly water bills low. The good news is that it may not be difficult to do! You simply need the right tools and supplies from a local hardware store in many cases. But first, you should be sure a leaky toilet is really your issue.

Detecting a Toilet Leak

First, it’s important to know how to detect a toilet leak. Yes, you may hear your toilet sporadically running, making the sound of rushing water in the middle of the night while nobody is using it. And yes, you may hear your toilet run for way longer than usual after you flush it.

However, sometimes this doesn’t mean your toilet is leaking. And sometimes, you don’t get any indication at all that a toilet is leaking. There’s a simple test if you want to know for sure.

  • Open up the back tank of your toilet.
  • Use one or two drops of food coloring in the water, or purchase dye tablets from a local hardware store (also available from many plumbers).
  • Without any flushing, wait 15-20 minutes. If water has seeped into the toilet bowl, you have a leak.

Potential Repairs

There are a few different possible methods for repairing a running toilet. Some may require the help of a plumber. However, materials are often readily available from your local hardware store.

  • Try jiggling the handle, if you have not tried this already.
  • Open up the top of the tank. Jiggle around the chain or try manually sealing the flapper valve. However, keep in mind that this isn’t something you should have to do all the time.
  • Replace the flush valve. Drain the tank and use standard household tools to remove the old flush valve. You can usually find a replacement at your hardware store, but if you don’t feel confident, call in a plumber.

When It’s Time to Replace a Toilet

Eventually, it will be time to replace your toilet with a new one. We recommend this for toilets that are a few decades old even if it is possible to get a running toilet under control. A new toilet will use less water in the first place, about a third of the water volume with each flush. Besides, it likely won’t run into so many problems any time soon, especially when you get a WaterSense toilet installed by a professional plumber.

Admiral Plumbing Services, LLC is your source for plumbing repair in West Palm Beach, FL. Nice people, super service!

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