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Common Toilet Flush Problems

Posted by Eric Splitt on


Common Toilet Flush Problems 

And how you can save money fixing them yourself!


Do you have a toilet that keeps running water after a flush?  That continuous running toilet can cost you lots of money over time in lost water.  It’s estimated that a running toilet can waste 2 gallons per minute and could cost you hundreds of dollars each year.


plumber-fixing-sinkCalling a plumber can be expensive, charging $50 to $100 just to show up.  Often times the solution is something you can do yourself saving tons of money in the process.  In this article, we will cover some of the common toilet problems and the simple DIY tips every homeowner should know.


Repairing a Running Toilet

First, remove the cover on the tank and get familiar with all the internal parts.  See our diagram to learn the names and locations of each part. The main parts to know are:

  1. Fill Valve or Float Valve - Turns the water on and off using a connected float.

  2. Overflow Tube - Located in the center of the tank and fills the toilet bowl with water.

  3. Fill Tube water line - sprays water into the overflow tube when you push the handle down

Locate the fill tube water line.  Be sure the plastic tube is connected to the valve and to the top of the overflow tube.  If it is not, reattach it so that it sprays water into the overflow tube. The problem may be solved.


Float Valve Sticking

Flush the toilet and watch the float that moves up and down.  The float should move freely as the water level changes and shut off when the water reaches a specific level.  On newer toilet tanks there is a mark on the tank showing the recommended water level. If the float sticks and does not rise to the top, the water will keep running.  If this occurs, lightly touch the float and push it up to see if it pops up and the water shuts off. If it does, the shutoff valve and float may need to be cleaned or replaced.  


Cleaning a Sticky Float Valve

Before you replace the float valve assembly, take a rag and wipe off the fill valve tube that the float moves on.  It may have some scum or build up causing the float to stick. In areas of hard water, it could have lime deposits on it that needs to be cleaned off.  Clean this area and flush the toilet again, watching the float to shut off at the proper level. If it still sticks, then replacing it is your next move.

Watch how to replace a float valve


Check and Adjust the Float Level

The water flow should stop before it reaches the top of the overflow tube.  If the water reaches the top of the overflow tube and runs over, the water will keep running.  That’s your problem.  The float level needs to be adjusted lower so the water shuts off at or below the overflow tube.  Pick up on the float to see if the water shuts offs. To adjust the float there may be a screw in the top of the valve or metal wire and clip that adjusts the float level height.  This depends on the type you have.

If you have a toilet with the float ball on an arm, you adjust the float level by bending the arm that is connected to the float ball.  Bend it down to decrease the water level and bend the arm up to increase the water level. After bending the arm, flush the toilet to check the water level.  Continue to bend the float arm as necessary.


Check and Replace the Toilet Flapper Seal

One of the easiest solutions to a leaking toilet is to replace the flapper seal.  Do you notice that randomly your toilet water will start running inside the tank? That’s because the water level got low enough to trigger the valve to begin filling the toilet again.  This means that water is leaking out of your tank slowly through the flapper seal.

First, check to make sure the flapper is clean and there is no debris between it and the toilet.  If it’s clean, then it’s probably old and worn out. Simply replace the flapper with a new one and stop that mysterious running toilet in its tracks.

Hopefully, this has been insightful and gives you enough knowledge to tackle the toilet on your own.  If you have questions or comments, let us know how we can help.

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