Priority Plumbing

What to do About a Running Toilet

The most common reasons why people call in a plumber are usually the most dramatic: chronic blockages and overflows, or cracks on the outside or base of the toilet itself. These are all serious issues and while the occasional stuck toilet can usually be remedied with a plunger and some elbow grease, it is always wise to call in an expert when the problem persists. However, there is one very common issue in many households that can go unaddressed for months, sometimes even years: the running toilet.

You know the signs (or rather, the sounds). You go to your washroom and after you leave, you still hear a low gurgling from behind the closed doors. No, you’re not imagining anything. Your toilet is simply running, and running, and running… It is trying desperately in vain to fill its tank back up. Each time you flush the toilet, the tank empties and then reseals itself to allow new water to replace the old waste that went down the drain. If you are hearing the tell-tale signs of a running toilet, it means that some part of this process is not functioning correctly.

Here are the most common causes of a running toilet:

Old or Brittle Flapper
If you have ever looked into the tank of your toilet, you would see a small disk at the very bottom, usually black or grey. This is the piece that actually lifts up when you push down on the flush. Once the water has been flushed away, it is meant to settle back down and form a seal to allow the tank to refill. However, as they get older, they tend to get brittle around the edges. Very similar to a plug in your bath or any other watertight device, the flapper cannot function without creating a total seal. If the flapper is the cause of your problem, replacing it is a very simple fix.

Faulty Connection to the Flush
This is something else you may have experienced in your own home, or while you were staying somewhere else. You go to press down on the flush, and it gives almost zero resistance. Nothing else happens. So you press again, harder, or maybe you jiggle it around until it seems to catch. The problem feels solved, but you might have just caused your toilet to run. The flush system works because the lever pulls up on the flapper to allow the tank to empty and refill. The chain connecting all the parts can become loose over time, requiring more force to start the flush. However, every time you push down, you might be exacerbating the problem by further loosening the connection. Remember: your flush should feel firm but never stuck. If you think that the flush or chain is involved in your running toilet issue, it is time to call in a professional.

Many people consider a running toilet to be a priority, as this type of problem does not directly affect the toilet’s performance. However, a consistently running toilet can silently go through hundreds of gallons of unnecessary water, driving up your water bill. To get a professional diagnosis and permanent fix for your running toilet, contact us today at Priority Plumbing.

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