February 1, 2024

How to Fix a Running Toilet…And Why You Should Address It Immediately!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably either standing in front of a noisy, constantly running toilet, or you’re curious how to avoid this homeowner headache. 

A running toilet is an expensive maintenance task to leave on the back burner. You can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day, depending on the age and efficiency of your toilet. The average person flushes 19 to 24 gallons of water down the toilet daily (according to the71percent.org). 

Imagine the effect of 200 gallons of wasted water on your utility bill, not to mention the level of water waste and its effect on the environment! 

Moral of the story? Address that running toilet quickly, because the consequences are expensive!

A running toilet is often the result of issues with the fill valve, which can be an easy, do-it-yourself fix. Here are some steps you can take to address the problem:

  1. Identify the float: Toilets are cleverly designed to flush using gravity. If you lift the lid of your toilet, you will see your fill valve, with a piece that floats at the water line. That’s your float. When someone flushes the toilet, it lifts the flapper at the bottom of the tank, and all the water drains into the toilet basin. As the water level goes down, the float goes with it, triggering the fill valve to refill the tank in preparation for the next flush. Most floats look like cups that are attached to the shaft of the fill valve and move sort of like an elevator. Other floats are attached to the end of an arm and might look like a black balloon made of plastic.
  1. Adjust the float: Now that you’ve determined which part is the float, it’s time to make some adjustments. Cup-type floats feature a float clip on the side that determines how high or low the cup float sits in the water. Slide the clip downwards to reduce the amount of water needed for shut-off. Arm-type floats have an adjustment screw on top of the fill valve. You will need to turn the screw counter-clockwise to reduce the water needed in the tank for it to shut off.

The optimal height for a float is just below the overflow tube that sits in the tank. Otherwise, it will drain out as the tank fills, creating a cycle of a running toilet!

  1. Test the results: Flush your toilet, allow it to completely fill the tank, and make sure it stops filling once it’s reached the fill point. The water level should end up at least a quarter inch below the overflow tube.

If the problem persists after you’ve tried these solutions, you may need to replace your fill valve entirely. Call W.E. Brown to request a plumbing check-up and let us know that you’d like your toilet’s fill valve replaced during our visit.

Give us a call at 434-298-2151 or schedule service on our website.

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