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Is Your Toilet Running? Here’s How to Catch It!

low-flow-toilet-227x300There are few things that can annoy a homeowner more than a running toilet. Not only is the constant trickling sound enough to push someone over the edge, but the increased water bill adds insult to injury. Most people don’t have the slightest idea how to fix this problem, and simply leave it unattended.

At R.S. Andrews, we like to educate our customers about the causes and solutions to the most common plumbing problems, and of course, show you ways to save money, so we’ve assembled a little guide to teach even the most amateur plumber how to fix a running toilet.

Step 1: Poke Around The Tank

Every toilet is different, so parts look different and may be in different places. It’s best to remove the tank lid and flush the toilet a few times to see how things operate and locate all the parts. You should then shut the water to your toilet off using the the handle on the pipe that leads to your toilet. Flush to make sure all the water is out before you start looking around in the tank. While you’re in there, give everything a good scrub. Limescale and buildup can prevent the parts in the tank from working properly, which could be your problem.

If the running persists, move to step 2.

Step 2: Check The Flapper

Every toilet has a flapper, which lets water into the tank through the bottom when you flush. Sometimes a running toilet is due to a leaky flapper, so it’s important to check this. Also, check the chain that connects the handle to the flapper. A chain that’s too long or too short could be preventing the flapper from opening and closing properly. If it isn’t the chain, try forcing your flapper down, then adding food coloring into the tank. If the color appears in the bowl, your flapper is most likely the problem and should be replaced. If the flapper isn’t the issue, it might be the valve and float.

Step 3: Adjust The Valve and Float

There is a plastic float which drops as the water level in the tank drains. This plastic float is connected to a valve that lets water into the tank based on if the float is up or down. In many models it looks like a small balloon. Try pulling up on the float, and if this stops the flow, then you should adjust your float to reach that point when the tank is full. If pulling the float up at peak height doesn’t stop the toilet running, you may have to replace the whole refill valve.

Then, check that there isn’t an issue with the valve parts. Check the rubber seals, and all the plastic components of the valve to make sure nothing is broken. Replacing the whole valve isn’t for the inexperienced, so if you do need to have it replaced, give us a call at R.S. Andrews.

Step 4: Scope Out The Fill Tube

If your problem isn’t the flapper, float, or valve, there’s still a possible cause of your running toilet. Your fill tube (which leads from the valve to the overflow tube) can leak water into the overflow tube. If you believe that’s the problem, try adjusting the height of the valve, tube, or water until the running stops.

Step 5: Call R.S. Andrews

If you have checked all these things and your toilet is still running, or if you can’t figure out how to check them, it’s time to call R.S. Andrews! You can contact us at (770) 913–6412 and we will be more than happy to stop by and help you assess the problem and give you some options on how to remedy the situation.

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