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Hi, I am Leo the repair guy. I've been fixing houses and doing household repairs now for 30 years. I'm here to help you with one of your most common toilet problems and to give you easy directions to fix this yourself. With plumbers charging outrageous prices, this is a repair you can easily do yourself.
Toilet Run on is one of the most common problems you can have with a toilet and it can cost you lots of money in water bills. There is occasionally a toilet that runs or flushes on it's own. You might not hear it until late at night when the kids are asleep and their TVs or stereos are off or you might just hear a sudden flush of water for a moment a few times during the day or night.
In general, because there are different types of systems, the cause is a defective flapper valve. This is located in your toilet tank centered in the bottom of the tank. Your flush handle has a chain or rubber strap that raises this flapper when you push down the handle to allow the tank water to rush into the bowl tow flush away waste. When these flappers wear out they allow water to pass by them when the handle is not lowered. When the water level gets low enough the float will lower with it and eventually tell the fill valve to put more water into the tank until the float is raised enough to close the fill valve. This is the Run on effect.
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My landlord refuses to fix my toilet which is running. I am worried about my water and sewer bills going up. He stated he dosen't hear it running. All he did was lower the water level and it doesn't help. What do I do?
Get a toilet kit at the hardware store. It will consist of a toilet ball, chain and tank seal. Watch youtube videos to learn how to put it in yourself.
That is good advice. Make a video on your phone and send it to the owner. If they won't help, keep keep the receipt and send a copy to the owner for a refund. If they pay water/sewer/garbage then don't worry about the increase. Most apt's do so document all correspondence with the manager.
I put in a new flapper in my toilet and occasionally it runs like it is flushing. Is this normal or do I need to fix it and how? Does this make my water bill higher?
By sandra from Salem, OR
Yes, it can make a huge water bill, make sure you fix it or get it fixed ASAP.
Try adjusting the chain length first but the handle itself might need to be replaced if it's loose or sticking. Doing one or both of those things have always worked for me including here in my apartment. And definitely that water running is going to run up your water bill :-(
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My toilet drips into the bowl constantly. How do I fix it?
Tom from Clearwater, FL
There are about 3 different types of hardware that control water flow. Some have the flapper valve others don't. An easy solution is to look at your system and go ask the plumbing sales associate at either Lowe's or Home Depot. They will explain what has to be done for your particular system. And the advise is free. (11/01/2006)
We have a toilet running and it's probably a flap ball that due to age doesn't seat properly after you flush and lets just a little water pass by. Any of you have a tip for me that I can continue my cheap (er... I mean frugal) ways?
Jim in FL
Replace the flap, they don't cost that much and look at the money you are sending down the toilet by letting the water run. (04/07/2005)
Definitely replace the flap. The whole assembly cost me $7.95 at the local home improvement place and took about 5 minutes to install. I saw the water bill go down dramatically, immediately. (04/08/2005)
My husband does a lot of plumbing jobs and this is what he has found:
Many times the whole assembly does have to be replaced. Yes, $5-7 for cost.
Periodically to check if your toilet is leaking: turn off the tap behind your toilet. Check where the water level in the toilet tank is at. Leave it for a few hours or overnight and recheck the tank. Has the water level dropped at all? If so, you need to replace the flapper.
Even after a new assembly has been installed, check the water level again by turning the water off. Sometimes the new ones do not work or seat properly, better to double check then to still have a water leak.
Also, you do not have to hear water leaking from your toilet in order to have a leak. If you do hear it then your water bill will be really high. A slight leak and your water bill will be just a little bit higher than normal. It costs nothing to check the toilet, just your time and effort.
P.S. We run a water utility company and this past month one of our customers had a leaking toilet. I called her to let her know that she would be getting an extremely high bill (about $1300 CDN for 3 months of usage) and she told me that she just hadn't gotten around to getting someone to come in and fix her toilet. She would have saved herself SO much by buying a $5 assembly and having it installed by herself or a plumber. But... procrastination. (04/08/2005)
There's not really a way to save on this one. I did read somewhere not to use bleach tablets in the tank because it would deteriorate the flapper, so I stopped using those immediately. This is a very annoying problem for all of us! (04/10/2005)
By suzi homemaker
Have you tried wiping the flapper with Bleach? A plumber gave me this tip. Continuous water contact with flapper causes a slimy stuff to form which prevents it from sealing properly. Worth a try B4 buying a new one. (04/12/2005)
In my case the chain was too long and was getting under the flap every time I flush and preventing it for sealing properly. I just had to adjust it to make sure it's long enough to operate the flap but not too long to hang and run under the flap after you flush. Give it a try, it only took me one minute and cost nothing. (05/20/2005)
By Heryck, NY
My problem has to do with the float: it seems to sink after a while and not come back up which causes water to run continually. (02/12/2006)
Usually the float can be unscrewed from the rod which holds it. I'm pretty sure you can just buy a new one. You also could try to find the leak and patch it with a waterproof glue or caulking. Make sure it is good and dry before you put it back on. If for some reason it doesn't unscrew you may need to replace the whole assembly. Hopefully it will. (02/12/2006)