How to Diagnose a Running Toilet

May 21st, 2018

Want to know how to diagnose your running toilet?

We’ve all heard the bad joke, “Is your refrigerator running?” But what happens when it’s your toilet in question? If your toilet is running with no indication as to why, then you could be wasting more money and water then you think. Just how much? A running toilet can waste two gallons of water per minute. A silent leak in a toilet can waste up to 7,000 gallons of water per month. That means you are wasting a lot of money in your water bill. It’s time to diagnose the cause of that running toilet before you throw any more money down the drain.

Some of the most common toilet problems that we see include:

  • Leaking Toilet Tanks
  • Clogged Toilet
  • Not Flushing Properly
  • Sweaty Toilet Bowl
  • Constantly Running Toilet
  • Broken Floor Seals
  • Faulty Toilet Hardware

When a permit or extensive work is required, it’s more cost effective and less frustrating to contact a professional plumber to handle the task. Our licensed, bonded and highly trained plumbers can make any repairs needed to get your toilet working perfectly. But if you have some decent handyman skills, some of these toilet problems you can solve yourself.

Possible Problems

The flap inside your toilet could be stuck open, which is causing the water to run. Take the top off the back of your toilet and look to see if the little flap inside is seated and sealed or if it’s stuck open. The flapper is a little rubber gasket that sits in the bottom your tank. It will have a lever or a chain that is connected to it, which connects it to the toilet handle in most cases. If it’s open then just slide your hand in there and adjust it so it seals properly. That could easily be the only thing you need to do to repair your running toilet. Sometimes the chain gets wrapped up in itself when the toilet gets flushed and you simply have to untangle it. The flap itself is made of rubber or another soft material that is prone to damage and dry-rotting over time. If it looks like it’s been damaged, you should replace it. Once it gets too damaged, it won’t matter how much you try to get it to seal. Water will slip past it and leak through, leaving you with a constantly running toilet and higher water bills.

In the toilet tank you will also see a rod. Is it bent? Again, if it is, you should be able to straighten it out pretty easily. If you notice it’s getting rusty or anything, you should go ahead and replace it.

In the tank you should also see a little ball-looking thing. That’s your float mechanism. Lift it up and see if the toilet stops running. If it does then you found your problem. Adjust the arm and let it go. Keep adjusting it a little bit and see if you can find a point at which the toilet stops running. If you happen to find that there is water inside the ball, you’ll need to get a new one from your local hardware or home store.

If none of the above seems to help, you may have a larger leak that is a little more troublesome. A professional plumber will be able to determine exactly what’s causing the leak and repair your running toilet for you.

Anytime the toilets are backing up into the tubs and showers the problem is most likely the main line. This usually requires special equipment that most homeowners don’t typically have. While renting the equipment is possible, it is not advisable unless you have experience using it. A professional will have experience using the equipment and clearing out the main line.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need any help with your leaking toilet or any other plumbing, HVAC, or electrical issue, please call us today at 801-224-8118 or click on the phone number at the top of the page.