Don’t you just hate it when your toilet keeps kicking on every few hours…. or minutes? It is a very annoying problem, but it may have a very simple solution. There are actually two common issues that can cause this problem. Hopefully, this little post will explain how to repair running toilets and you can get back to more important things – like getting back your sanity.
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How To Repair Running Toilets…
So, obviously, when the water in your toilet keeps kicking on and off, the water is leaving the tank. This then triggers the water to turn on in an attempt to get the water level back up to where it needs to be. To stop this, we need to identify where the water is leaving the tank, and it will be one of two locations. It is either leaving via the flapper that lifts when you flush or via the overflow tube.
Now, before you run out and start buying toilet components, let’s first check the easier of these two – the overflow. What is happening when the water is leaving via the overflow is that the floater is worn or just needs adjusting. In some toilets, the floater looks like an oval-shaped ball on a stick, and on others, it is a cylinder shaped piece that slides up and down a vertical shaft.
In both cases, the water raises the floater until it trips the water shutoff. Then, when you press the flushing lever, the flapper is lifted, the water exits through the bowl, and the tank refills. But, if your floater is set too high, the water will rise above or just to the top of the overflow tube before tripping the shutoff. The water will then slowly trickle down the overflow until the floater drops back to a level that allows the water to turn back on. The cycle repeats until, in a fit of desperation, you tear the guts out of the toilet. (well, hopefully not).
The good news is that all you need to do to fix this issue is adjust the floater. If you have the traditional ball type floater, that means you should see a screw located where the arm connects to the fill valve. If you tighten that screw, it will cause the float to trigger earlier and the water will not leak out the overflow tube.
If you have the new type fill-valve and floater, then you should either have a screw at the top to adjust the mechanism, or you will have an adjuster that can be manually shifted up or down. Sometimes the adjuster is a pin that has a clip on it. You can slide that clip up and down along the pin to make the adjustment. Again, you want to adjust until the floater turns the water off before it reaches the level of the overflow tube.
Then, just wait and see if this solves your problem. If your toilet doesn’t turn back on before your next flush, well congratulations! You fixed your problem just by turning a screw. FYI – if the problem returns in a few weeks or a few months, that means that your floater mechanism is gradually wearing out, and eventually you will need to replace it. But, you can probably get away with a few more adjustments in the meantime.
How To Repair Running Toilets – Step 2…
Now, if that didn’t solve your problem that means that you most likely have a worn flapper. You can check the flapper by turning off the water to your toilet (there should be a valve located on the wall behind the toilet) and then removing the flapper. It comes off quite easily. Just unhook the chain and remove the sides from the overflow tube.
Inspect it for defective areas or worn spots. Also, check the flapper seat to make sure that nothing has gotten lodge along the seat. Any little thing can cause a leak. I would recommend replacing the flapper* even if you do not see anything visually wrong. They are cheap and easy to replace, and most often than not, this will solve your problem. You don’t even have to worry about trying to find your specific brand, because they come in universal sizes* that are adjustable for every bowl.
Just one other thing to point out. A few brands of toilets may come with a canister style flush valve instead of the flapper style. (My toilet tank, above, has a canister style mechanism). With these, you do not have a flapper to replace. Instead, you will replace the seal.* The seal is usually red, and the canister style flush valve is common on Mansfield and Kohler brand toilets.
That covers most of the toilets out there, but I am sure that there may be a few that have completely different components. Hopefully, I have helped the majority of you. Please pardon me if I didn’t cover you particular mechanism. :-)
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