Whether we were at home, in public, or at a friend’s house, we’ve all had to deal with a running toilet in our time. There are few things more stressful or downright annoying than having to deal with a plumbing issue when you’re far from home or in the middle of the night when all you want to do is get back into bed. The good news is, you don’t have to know how to fix a toilet in order to stop a toilet from running at night. If you’re trying to stop a toilet from making noise, not flushing properly, or simply wasting water, plumbing experts aren’t necessary. All you need to do is figure out a few basics in order to address the problem. Your toilet (along with most home toilets) is made up of a few pretty simple parts that you can manipulate easily in order to deal with most common bathroom issues. To learn how you can take the matter of a running toilet into your own hands, read on.
Move the Flapper
If you have no idea what you’re looking at when you remove the top of a toilet tank, don’t worry. In order to fix a running toilet for good, all you have to be aware of are a few key terms. When you look inside your tank, you’ll see a few different devices at play. First, you’ll notice a large, floating bulb-like instrument attached to a screw-top. On the bottom of the tank, you’ll see that this part of the device is attached via chain to a stopper that allows water to pass through the tank. This is known as a “flapper.” The first thing to do when you notice your toilet running is to check on the flapper to see if it’s causing the problem, either by sticking shut or by not closing properly. Sometimes, the chain attached to the flapper that allows it to open with each flush will have fallen off and you’ll simply have to re-attach it to stop the running from occurring. Other times, it will be a bit more complicated than that. To test things out, use a butter knife or paint stick to move the flapper up and down and see if it makes a difference.
Look for a Leak
A toilet leak isn’t always the easiest to spot. That is, unless you know what you’re looking for. Fortunately, most leaks in the tank occur in one spot. The fill valve, which is a large screw top-looking device you’ll see on the left-hand side of your tank, sometimes becomes loose and ends up leaking. While it might look normal to the untrained eye, many amateur plumbers will be able to spot the leak in a second after identifying a jet of water coming from the fill valve. When you see this leak, you’ll most likely have to replace the top of your valve. Don’t panic: This is actually fairly simple to do. What you’ll need first is to purchase a new valve to replace your old one. Be sure to do the proper research beforehand so that you don’t end up with a piece that’s the wrong size or something you simply can’t use.
Get a New Fill Valve
Once you have your new piece ready, you’ll want to turn off the water and disconnect the pipe that connects your toilet to the water supply. From here, it’s a fairly simple process to replace your leaky fill valve with your new one. Just remove your old valve by hand, which will be easy to do now that it isn’t connected to your water supply, and put your new valve in, reconnecting it to the supply. You’ll need to connect your valve to your chain and “float” (that black bulb to the right of your valve) and you’ll also need to make sure the overflow pipe located in the center of the tank isn’t taller than your new fill valve. If it is, you’ll need to shorten it by hand using a small knife or saw.
Use Your Fill Tube to Connect the Parts
You’re almost done. All you need to do now is use a small adapter to connect a small part called a “fill tube” to your new valve. This will allow you to feed the excess water into your overflow tube with each flush, making for a clean flush each time. Your new valve should stop your toilet from running. However, if you’re still running into issues after installing your new piece, you might want to think about calling in a professional plumber to make sure you’re not dealing with a more serious problem with your water supply.