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Why Is My Toilet Running?

Simple Solutions from Our Plumbers

A running toilet is a fairly common plumbing problem for most homeowners. If you have a toilet, there’s a good chance that after some time, it’ll start turning itself on and refilling randomly, even without having been flushed for hours at a time. This may be annoying because it means extra unwanted noise in your home, but it can really have an impact by wasting water, which means a water bill that’s far higher than it should be - and here in California, every gallon counts.

Check Your Flapper

The overwhelming majority of running toilets have a simple cause: a worn-out flapper. The flapper is the small piece of rubber that blocks the drain between your toilet’s tank and the bowl down below. When you flush your toilet, the handle lifts this flapper, allowing water to flood into the bowl below, flushing the contents out and down the drain in a safe and sanitary fashion. Flappers are constructed from rubber because rubber can flex and created a tight seal while also remaining very inexpensive.

However, rubber has a downside—it degrades fairly rapidly and exposure to water can cause it to crack. When it cracks, it can’t form a tight seal, and water will very slowly start to leak through it down into the bowl below. When enough water drips out of your tank, the float valve will drop low enough to the point where your tank starts to refill. Depending on the condition of your flapper, this will usually happen anywhere from every few hours to every few minutes. You can even hear when your flapper has a larger leak, as water will drip down into the bowl below before the tank refills again.

Do I Need to Hire a Professional?

If the problem is your flapper, as it most likely is, to be honest the answer is no. Replacing the flapper in your tank takes about five minutes, costs about five dollars, and requires no specialized tools or knowledge.

After shutting off the water to your toilet and draining your tank with a quick flush, simply dislodge the flapper from the hinge it sits on. Dislodging the flapper is extremely simple, and all you need to do after doing so is disconnect it from the handle and you can pull it out.

You can pick up a new flapper from your local hardware store. Simply place the new flapper in the tank, reattach it at the hinge, and then attach the chain to the handle and make sure there’s just a tiny bit of tension between the handle and the chain when the flapper is closed. When that’s done, turn the water to your toilet back on, let the tank refill, and make sure there are no leaks.

That’s it, you’re done.

It’s not unusual to have to replace the flapper in a toilet every couple of years or so, but when you consider the cost is so minimal, you shouldn’t have to worry about it.

What If It’s Not the Flapper?

If your flapper is still in good condition yet your toilet is still running, then you could have a different problem like a tank leak. If you notice water dripping near the base of your toilet or along the wall near it, then you may need to replace your toilet outright. The best way to tell for sure is to have your toilet inspected by a professional plumber.

Schedule your plumbing service by calling Dutton Plumbing at (844) 811-5449 today! Serving all of Ventura & LA.

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  • “Once again, Matt D. came to the rescue! He fixed our leaky toilet efficiently and professionally. ”

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  • “Bryan was professional and courteous and fixed the stopped up toilet very quickly.”

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