Toilet is Always Running

You probably all know the term, ” jiggle the handle

We have all experienced that running toilet, that always requires the jiggling of the handle, to stop the constant flow of water into the bowl or the rear water tank.

Is it always necessary to call the plumber to fix, or should we simply continue to ” jiggle the handle?”

There are some simple things that you should look at, prior to making that call to the local plumber.

1.) Most toilets have a heavy lid that simply fits down on the top of the large water tank at the rear of the toilet. This lid can be removed, by lifting it off the top of the water tank. There is normally not any physical mechanism that latches this top, to the tank, it simply sits there, so its removal is easy.

2.) Once the top of the water tank is removed, there are a number of very simple mechanisms within the tank, that control the flushing of the toilet, as well as the re-filling of the water tank.

  1. Flapper valve / at the bottom of the tank, is a pliable rubber or synthetic piece that seals the bottom of the tank from emptying, during the flushing of the toilet. This valve must be able to seal, without interference from sand or other foreign items.
  2. Chain or other type of connection to the top of the flapper valve. You will easily identify a connection to the flapper valve and the actual toilet handle that flushes the toilet. This is not a very sophisticated type of mechanism once you actually look at it. There is a connection from the handle that flushes the toilet to the top of the flapper valve. The flushing exterior handle is pushed down, the chain or other type of connection is pulled up, and the flapper valve is opened. It is as simple as that. Any foreign item or obstacle within the tank could cause the valve to remain open or not properly close. The result is a running toilet.
  3. Once the water tank fills to the proper depth, there is a very simple floating mechanism that will stop the inflow of the water into the water tank. This is normally a float, with a very simple mechanical arm that shuts off the water valve, once the proper height of water is reached in the water tank. Any obstruction to this floating valve control, or any type of adjustment that does not allow the valve to properly seal, once the height of water is established in the water tank, will cause the toilet to simply run. Sometimes it is necessary to bend or adjust the metal arm that attaches the float to the valve to accommodate the shutting off of the water into the toilet water tank.
  4. Once the water reaches a certain height in the water tank, the water flows into, in most instances, a cylinder type of entry port into the toilet bowl. This overflow is in place to accommodate any type of issue that would cause the water to flow uncontrolled into the water tank, and possibly overflow the tank. This overflow will allow the water to drain into the toilet bowl, and the constant running of the bowl will be the result. If this is occurring, this will normally indicate that the valve is not shutting off, and the water is constantly flowing.

3.) Once you have removed the water tank lid, have looked at the flapper valve, the connection that activates the opening of the flapper valve, as well as the overflow tube or cylinder, and find nothing obviously wrong, what then? The total replacement of the inner workings of the toilet are probably, now necessary. This is not a big deal, and any homeowner can accomplish this task. However, if you are either intimidated, or simply don’t have the time or the inclination to replace the inner workings of the toilet, then hire that plumber.

The final recommendation for any toilet that constantly runs or leaks, have the inner workings replaced. This is an easy solution to the problem. The actual toilet, bowl, tank and lid are seldom the issue, due to their simple and almost indestructible nature. The inner workings, due to their constant exposure to the water, will deteriorate over time, and their replacement will easily remedy, almost all issues.

Don’t lie awake listening to that running toilet, fix it, it is not difficult!

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