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Why the Toilet Is Running (And What to Do About It)

toilet-with-button-flushAfter a toilet flush, you should hear water running for under a minute as the water in the tank is replace through the feedline connected to the plumbing system. (The feedline is the plastic tube that runs from the bathroom wall to the base of the toilet.) But sometimes, you might hear water continue to run. The toilet isn’t in danger of overflow most of the time; the water is simply going from the tank straight into the bowl and down the drain or down the overflow tube. But it is a big waste of water and something needs to be done about it. Let’s take a look and the what and how of the situation.

The reason the toilet is running

The basic reason for this to happen is water in the tank is being allowed to flow down into the bowl when it shouldn’t or else the tank isn’t stopping water flow. The tank is designed to stop the water flow with a device that measures when the water reaches the fill level. The flapper that opens up when the flush level is pulled creates the seal along the bottom of the tank so water doesn’t continue to flow out.

You could be dealing with a couple of issues here to cause the continuous running:

  • The flapper has decayed. If the flapper can no longer create an effective seal, water will flow down out of the tank, lowering the water level and forcing the feedline to continue to send water int.
  • The chain from the flush lever is caught on something. This is probably the most common cause for the running toilet problem. When the chain that lifts the flapper gets snagged, it will stop the flapper from closing, and water will keep pouring out of the tank. This is easy to fix. Take off the lid of the tank (be cautious with it; it’s expensive to replace if broken) and unhook the chain from whatever it’s caught on so the flapper is able to drop.
  • The float is broken. For toilets that still use a plastic float that rises until the level its attached to shuts off water flow, a deflated and water-logged float means the water will continue to flow into the tank. It won’t run over and flood because of the overflow tube (the white plastic tube in the center of the tank), but the water will continue to run into the tank.
  • The fill valve is broken. Newer toilets don’t use a float but instead the fill valve. If this breaks, the same trouble with a broken float will occur.
  • Worn down gaskets. When the gaskets between the tank and the bowl decay, water will escape from one to the other.

If you can’t fix the problem with a simple action like untangling the chain, you’ll probably need to call a plumber to repair it. Before calling, turn off the valve on the feedline so no more water goes to waste.

We can take care of your bathroom plumbing in Melrose, NM, no matter what job you need done.

When you need a plumber, call a Carpenter! Mark Carpenter Plumbing serves the Clovis, NM area.

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