Toilets account for almost 30 percent of household water use. If you have been smart enough to install modern, efficient toilets your water savings from them could be as much as 60 percent compared to older toilets.
On the other hand, if your toilet doesn’t work properly and is running longer than it should, you may be exceeding the 30 percent mark. If you have this problem, it’s time to get replace it. Not only is it irritating and disruptive, these toilets waste water and cost you money.
Why is your toilet running? Here are some common causes:
Why Makes the Running Start and Stop?
As you may already know, when you flush toilet the motion of the handle causes a flapper at the bottom of the toilet to raise, releasing water into the bowl. This flushes the bowl clean.
The flapper returns to its position and the water flows in to the tank. In most cases, there will be an arm with a float attached. When the float reaches a level that signifies the tank is full again, the water stops running.
It’s a simple and ingenious way to take care of an important household function. Of course, even the simplest systems can develop problems. Fortunately, most of the problems relating to flushing are easy to fix.
Why is My Toilet Running?
What does it mean to say a toilet is “running”? This refers to a situation where water is continuing to flow into the tank for a longer period that it would normally take for it to fill. How much time is that? For a modern, low-flow toilet it can be as little as 15 seconds. For most toilets, however, the tank will refill within 45 seconds to one-and-a-half minutes.
If you’re waiting longer than that for peace and quiet, here are some reasons that could be happening:
- The flapper chain is too long. If the flapper can’t return to its closed position, water will continue to run. If the chain is too long, there are various ways that it can interfere with the flapper and prevent it from closing. If you’re willing, all you need to do is grab some wire cutters and cut the chain to the right length.
- The float is too high. There’s a fixed point in the flushing mechanism to at which the float will signal the water to shut off. One simple way to envision this is that the “float” will still be floating on the water at this point. If your float is raised to a level that is higher than the water will ever reach, water will continue to flow into the toilet and down the overflow valve indefinitely.
- The flapper is damaged. It’s not necessarily common for a home owner to regularly open up the toilet tank and make sure all the components are in good shape. Over enough time, the flapper can deteriorate, crack or develop other problems that prevent it from forming a tight seal at the bottom of the tank. If the seal is not complete, water will continue to flow out – and in.
- Problem with the “seat” for the flapper. The flapper sits in a piece of plastic that helps to form the seal. This can also crack or become damaged and thus be unable to create leak-proof barrier even if the flapper functions as it should.
- Leaky fill valve. In some cases, water can leak through the bottom of the fill valve. This is a repair that should be performed by a qualified plumber unless you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer.
- Mineral deposits. Do you see scummy residue or mineral build up in the tank? Mineral deposits can cause jams and interfere with seals. Get help from one of our plumbers to get your system working as it should.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Can Help
As you can see, some the common problems with running toilets are relatively easy to identify and repair. If you’re having trouble diagnosing the trouble, or if you are one of the many people who prefer to have a professional get the job done, give us a call. We have experience with all types of toilets and every issue that can arise.