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Worst Toilet Troubles and How to Fix Them

Toilet troubles

A running toilet is not only a nuisance but can also waste a significant amount of water and inflate your water bills. If you’ve ever heard that persistent, soft sound of water running long after you’ve flushed, it’s a clear sign that something’s amiss with your toilet. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a plumbing expert to solve this common issue. In this guide, we’ll explore the reasons behind running toilets and how to fix them.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Toilet

Before we dive into troubleshooting and fixes, it’s essential to understand the basic components of a toilet:

  • Tank: The upper part of the toilet that holds water.
  • Bowl: The part of the toilet where waste is deposited and flushed from.
  • Flapper: A rubber or plastic seal that covers the flush valve, controlling water flow from the tank to the bowl.
  • Flush Valve: The opening at the bottom of the tank releases water into the bowl during a flush.
  • Fill Valve: The mechanism responsible for refilling the tank with water after a flush.
  • Overflow Tube: A vertical tube that prevents the tank from overfilling.

Common Reasons for Running Toilets

A running toilet usually has one of the following common causes:

  1. Worn or Misaligned Flapper: The flapper is responsible for sealing the flush valve and allowing water to flow from the tank to the bowl. If worn out or misaligned, it won’t create a watertight seal, causing water to pour into the bowl continuously.
  2. Flapper Chain Problems: If the chain that connects the flush lever to the flapper is too long or too short, it can prevent the flapper from seating correctly. This can lead to continuous refills.
  3. Overfilled Tank: If the water level in the tank is too high, water can overflow into the overflow tube, causing constant refilling.
  4. Damaged Fill Valve: The fill valve can wear out over time, leading to water wastage. If it doesn’t shut off properly, the tank won’t stop filling, causing a running toilet.

Toilet Troubles: Troubleshooting and Fixes

Now that we’ve identified the typical culprits behind running toilets let’s explore how to diagnose and fix the issue.

  1. Check the Flapper:
  • Lift the tank lid and locate the flapper. It’s usually a rubber or plastic piece covering the flush valve at the bottom of the tank.
  • Inspect the flapper for indications of any wear or damage. If it’s deteriorating or has mineral buildup, it’s time for a replacement.
  • If the flapper appears fine, check the chain. Ensure it’s properly connected to the flush lever and has just enough slack to allow the flapper to seal tightly.
  1. Adjust the Water Level:
  • Ensure the water level in the tank is at the correct level. The water level should be around 1 inch below the overflow tube’s top.
  • If it’s too high, water will continuously flow into the overflow tube, causing the toilet to run. Adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw on the fill valve.
  1. Replace the Fill Valve:
  • If the fill valve is the issue, it’s best to replace it. Turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush it to ensure emptying the tank.
  • Disconnect the supply line of water from the fill valve.
  • Remove the old fill valve and replace it with a new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Reconnect the water supply line and turn the water back on.
  1. Test for Leaks:
  • To confirm that the issue is resolved, test the toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank and wait for about 15 minutes.
  • If the colored water appears in the bowl without flushing, it indicates a leak. You may need to recheck the flapper and flush valve for a proper seal.
  1. Regular Maintenance:
  • To prevent future running toilet problems, conduct regular maintenance. Clean the flapper and the flush valve to prevent mineral buildup that can lead to leaks.
  1. Call a Professional:
  • If you’ve tried the above steps and the toilet is still running, or if you’re uncomfortable performing these fixes, it’s time to call a professional plumber. They can diagnose and resolve more complex issues.

Preventing Running Toilets

Prevention is always the best cure. Here are some tips to prevent running toilets:

  • Be cautious about what you flush. Remember that solely human waste and toilet paper should go down the drain.
  • Avoid using the toilet tank as a shelf, as heavy items can damage the flapper and fill valve.
  • Conduct regular checks on your toilet to identify and address issues before they become more severe.

In Conclusion

Dealing with a running toilet is a common household task, and in most cases, it’s easily fixable. Understanding the components of your toilet and the common causes of running toilets is the first step to solving the issue. With a little troubleshooting and some basic maintenance, you can put an end to that constant trickle of wasted water and enjoy a properly functioning toilet once more.


Louw Bros Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Comprehensive Plumbing Solutions

With branches in Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna, Louw Bros Plumbing offers a wide range of expert services, from leak detection and geyser installation to drainage maintenance and emergency repairs, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction across South Africa.