30 Apr How Your Running Toilet May Be Draining Your Bank Account
For a simple mechanism that doesn’t tend to change very much, there are a fair few things that can go wrong with a toilet. As it’s an important addition to any home, this is something you’ll want to get fixed right away.
Blockages and burst pipes aside, one minor breakdown that can cause issues is a running toilet. This happens when your toilet doesn’t seem to know when enough is enough, and keeps itself in a constant state of flushing. This can make noise, or none at all, but either way it’s bad news for your water bills; it’s essentially like leaving a tap running constantly.
This can cause your bills to skyrocket, so it really does pay to aware of the problem, and fix it as soon as possible when it arises.
Diagnosing the Problem
When a toilet is constantly running, it may make a sound, specifically the noise heard straight after a flush. The difference here is that it won’t stop, making it a nuisance in more ways than one.
If your water bills are still high and the toilet seems fine, you may need to look deeper. Your first step should be to turn off the water in your bathroom to prevent the constant water wastage. To test that certain things are wrong with the toilet you’ll need to turn it back on, but in the interim it will save water and money on your bill. When it comes time to investigate, turn on the water, take off the cover at the top of the toilet and have a look inside. There should be a small opening known as a ‘flapper’; when the toilet is flushed, a tank of water is deposited into the bowl. Often, a running toilet is caused by the flapper being stuck open, and therefore constantly demanding more water.
If you can’t tell using this method, try adding some food dye to the water in the top section, the waiting for about 20 minutes without flushing. That water shouldn’t be escaping, but the dye will tell you if it has.
With the problem confirmed, you’ll need to take steps to remedy it before your water bill goes through the roof. The simplest method is to reach in and simply close the flapper with your hand (don’t worry – that water is relatively clean). If the chain inside is caught, straighten it out and make sure it isn’t holding the flapper open. If the situation is too dire, you may need a new flapper entirely. They’re a small and inexpensive piece of equipment, so dislodge it and find a replacement at your local hardware store.
If this doesn’t work, check the water line. The system will constantly demand more water if there isn’t enough in there, so find the water valve and make sure it’s turned the whole way. The water should fill up and fix your problem.
The valve and float is your next port of call; this is the pipe running the whole way up, with a flat cylinder wrapped around the side (though they may also be separate). This regulates the water level, and having the level too high can put pressure on the flapper and cause a leak. Adjust the float to varying heights and see if this stops the leak.
At times, the core problem may simply be caused by old and failing equipment. A flapper may be a relatively easy thing to replace, but other parts may not be, and you’ll need to call in a professional plumber to replace the equipment. You may shy away from the cost of replacement, but high water bills are a constant problem and need to be dealt with before the problem escalates into something worse.
A running toilet is a problem, but it’s usually one with an easy fix. The problem can be fixed in minutes – and these few minutes can save months of water wastage and hefty bills. All you need is a few basic tools, the willingness to get your hands wet and a bit of know-how.