Your toilet is arguably the most important aspect of your bathroom, maybe even your home. When your toilet is not functioning it can be a serious issue. You use your toilet every day, maybe even up to five times.
Your toilet can last anywhere from 15 to 50 years, which is why it is important to keep your toilet in tip-top condition, to avoid it deteriorating prematurely.
If your toilet does begin to develop problems, usually you can fix it with a few simple steps. One of the more common issues that occur with a toilet is it can randomly start running for a few seconds, and then turn off.
Although there may be a few culprits to why your toilet is randomly running for a few seconds, the most common reason is that your flapper is having issues.
The Cost of a Running Toilet
If you have an extreme leak, your toilet might be losing over 200 gallons of water per day. This will waste thousands of gallons of water per month, eventually will lead to an extra $200 on your water bill each month.
This will lead to approximately $2,500 dollars per year, fully wasted. Although it may cost less if your toilet is only randomly running, regardless you are wasting money and you should fix this problem.
Do I Have to Fix My Running Toilet?
The main problem with a running toilet is that it can eventually cause a leak, and also can be quite expensive. Aside from the expense, it is also terrible for the environment.
If you live on well water, you might be draining your resources, but if you live in city water it is simply something you do not want to pay for. Additionally, even though your toilet cannot directly cause a leak, a running toilet left unfixed can cause wear and tear much quicker than normal use.
How to Stop Your Toilet From Randomly Running
Take off the lid from the tank of your toilet, turn off the water to the toilet, and empty the tank. Do this by flushing the toilet until the tank is empty, and then using a sponge or towel to wipe up any additional water.
Option 1: Check the Lift Chain
The first thing you can try to make your toilet stop running is to try lengthening the lift chain. The lift chain is will be attached from the back of the handle to a rubber disk on the bottom of your tank.
This rubber disk is the flapper. The flapper may not be sealing properly if the chain is too short, because it will be pulling the flapper up.
When adjusting the chain, be sure to make it have around ½ inch of slack around the center. Easily adjust the chain by unhooking it from the handle, and then rehooking it back onto one of the next links.
Option 2: Replace the Float Ball
The float ball in your toilet may be leaking and causing your issue. If this is the case, it is an easy fix. The float ball is the metal or rubber ball found in your toilet tank. This should float on top of the water.
When this ball leaks, it will sink slightly. This will cause the toilet to run. To fix this, turn the ball in a counterclockwise direction and remove it from the rod. Take a new float ball and replace the old one. Tighten it clockwise until it is tight.
Option 3: Adjust the Float Height
If there is not a leak in your flat ball, then you may simply need to adjust the float height. This can be done very simply. The trouble is that if the float is not higher than the fill level, it will never shut off the fill valve. This can cause the tank to suddenly run as it is bobbing back and forth.
If you have recently replaced your ball float with a metal ball float, it may rise along the metal tube vertically. If this is the case, simply slide the float up or down to adjust it by compressing the spring clip.
If you have an older toilet and rubber ball, you should see a metal arm. You can fix this by adjusting the set screw on the end of the arm, or you can bend the arm if you cannot find a screw.
Option 4: Clean the Valve Seat
Another option you can pursue, along with a great plan for regular maintenance, is to clean the valve seat. Be sure to look for sediment deposits, and remove these.
Older models are fitted with a metal valve seat. You will find this at the bottom of the tank You will also find a rubber stop that is shaped like a triangle. This should form a seal, but if it is broken or not complete, the toilet may run occasionally.
Fix this first by training the tank as instructed previously. Now you can pull the rubber stop out of the valve seat, and use a nail file or emery board. Rub this on the valve seat to remove any deposits. When you have finished, insert the rubber stop back into its space, and turn the water back on.
None of These Fixes Worked, Why is My Toilet Running?
Although the primary reason your toilet is running is that your flapper is not doing its job by sealing the hole, there are other reasons as well. We have gone over shortening your flapper chain as well as checking the fill valve and ball float, there are two other options.
Water level: If you do not have enough water in the tank, then your toilet may be running. Alternatively, if there is too much water in the tank, it might be the same reason.
Toilet handle: If your toilet handle is sticking, it could be causing your toilet to run randomly. This can let more water into the tank than you would prefer, and make an annoying noise.
If you cannot figure out what is going on with your toilet, you can choose to call a plumber instead. Qualified plumbers will be able to figure out what is going on with your toilet, and stop it from running.
Toilet Repair vs Replacement
Sometimes you can easily repair your toilet, while other times the problem is so severe that is it more economical to replace it altogether. Normally, a running toilet will be easily repaired.
If you find yourself having the same reoccurring problem over and over, then you may want to invest in a new toilet. Especially if you have already replaced numerous parts, it can be much easier to replace rather than repair.
Is it important to maintain my toilet regularly?
It is important to service and maintain your toilet because it will help to avoid wear and tear. It will also help you to lower your water bill in the long run. Sometimes toilet maintenance is simply adjusting a toilet that runs randomly will stop the annoying sound and help lower the water bill.
There are several potential causes for the running problem, which can be determined by inspecting some of the tank’s components. A minor adjustment or a quick cleaning may be all that is required.
If a defective part is discovered, chances are good that the replacement part will be fairly inexpensive. In many cases, you can make the repair without hiring a professional.