Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

There are a wide variety of reasons a homeowner may find they have a problem with excessive water usage. One of the biggest causes is often an undetected water leak. All plumbing fixtures and piping can fail over time because of wear, tear, and mineral buildup. That is why it’s essential to keep a lookout for potential signs of problems. High water bills or excessive usage is one of the telltale signs. In addition, the continuous discovery of water in places where it should not be is usually an indication of a leak in some plumbing pipe or fixture.

One of the most notorious areas of water waste in a home is the bathroom, and leaks and improper settings are common causes. Among these likely culprits is the toilet. Having a toilet that continues to run is a waste of water and money, but can also be very annoying if the constant refilling in the tank is noisy.

The most likely reasons for why your toilet keeps running relates to the flapper not closing. There could be mineral build-up, the ball float isn’t adjusted correctly, or the flapper is faulty or too worn to work properly.

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It’s All About the Flapper

The toilet flapper is what opens and closes to let water pour into the bowl, and then shuts after the water has been released and the tank starts to refill.

When this seal doesn’t shut completely, the water can slowly leak into the bowl, eventually causing the toilet to constantly fill back up. This is also the likely reason you hear an audible hissing sound coming from the toilet.

There are many reasons for a flapper not making a proper seal, all of which are usually easy fixes.

Float Chain is Twisted, Tangled, or Broken

The chain is attached to the flapper itself. When you flush, the chain gets pulled up, opening the flapper and releasing the water.

If you have a ball float in your tank, a chain might be causing the issues. Sometimes the chain isn’t the right length for the flapper to open correctly, leaving the amount of water in the tank insufficient to flush, which may cause problems with the closure of the flapper.

If the chain is broken from age or rusting, it probably is good to get a new toilet tank kit. Simple replacement of the chain will not often remedy the problem long term since other parts of the toilet tank kit are likely to be near the end of their functionality.

Float Ball is Not Properly Set For Closure

If the float ball is too low in the tank, the water will not fill up the tank, and the flapper may not close properly. This leads to ongoing water flow into the tank because the water will continue to pour into the overflow tube in the toilet. This triggers a perpetual state of the toilet refilling.

If the float ball is set too high, the flapper will not close all the way, leading to a continuous flow of water into the toilet bowl. This results in the toilet sounding like it is constantly running or filling with water.

The good news is that adjusting the float itself is pretty easy. Check out the instructions here.

Flapper Seal is Damaged

If the flapper seal is torn or damaged, it will fail to seal the water tank. If this occurs with a new toilet, the flapper is likely defective. In this case, the fix is as simple as buying a new flapper (don’t worry, they’re super cheap).

However, if the toilet is older it’s more likely that the entire toilet tank kit will need to be replaced to prevent further mechanical malfunctions.

Mineral Build-Up at Water Release Site

This is a common problem for homes that have soft or hard water. Mineral deposits occur from both types of water and can cause corrosion to mechanical parts. When decay sets in, it is recommended that the toilet tank kit be replaced and an analysis be done on whether on not the entire toilet needs replacement.

If the residue is extensive enough around the water entry and exit points, replacement of the toilet may be necessary. These are extreme cases though, and typically you can clean the build-up so that the toilet can flush properly.

If your toilet seems to be continuously running, checking for these issues should usually diagnose the problem. If a simple repair becomes impossible, homeowners should seriously consider the replacement of the toilet tank kit or the entire toilet. New toilet systems are designed to be more water-efficient and save homeowners substantial amounts of money over time. A professional plumber can usually replace the toilet tank kit or replace a toilet within 2 hours with little downtime.

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