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Why Is My Toilet Running?

Posted on: January 15, 2018

Running can be a really great stress relief. But when it comes to your toilet running, it can be a huge source of stress for homeowners. We’re willing to bet that most of you don’t think much about your toilet’s plumbing until you need to break out a plunger.

However, a running toilet can be one of the costliest problems affecting your utility bill. Depending on your home’s water pressure, a running toilet can leak over 1 gallon of water per hour, adding almost 26 gallons a day!

But, never fear! It’s easy for you to figure out yourself why your toilet is running. To help you, here are some common causes of running toilets and actions you can take to fix some of them yourself (for bad leaks or major plumbing issues, we recommend calling your local plumbing company though).

Problem: Running Toilet and “Phantom Flushes”

It can be kind of spooky to hear your toilet flushing itself in the middle of the night! This problem is caused when water is slowly leaking from the tank to the bowl because of a worn-out flapper valve. The flapper valve is important because it creates a watertight seal between the tank holding the water and the toilet where it’s needed for a flush. Things that can cause a flapper valve to seal incorrectly are sediment buildup or simply old age.

To solve the issue of your toilet tank leaking water into the bowl, you will need to either clean or replace the flapper valve, depending on the situation. A plumber can help you decide what action is needed!

Problem: Dripping Sound in Toilet Tank

Just as humans sweat when it’s hot, the tank of your toilet can also “sweat,” and develop condensation on the tank. As long as it is not excessive, it’s generally not a big problem. What can be a big problem, however, is when there is a loud dripping or hissing sound coming from your toilet.

How to Detect a Toilet Leak:

One of our easiest DIY plumbing tips is figuring out if you have a costly leak in your toilet tank.

Here are the steps:

  1. Carefully remove the lid from the toilet tank.
  2. Place 4 to 5 drops of food coloring into the tank’s water.
  3. Do not use the toilet and wait at least 30 minutes, or up to a few hours.
  4. If the water in the toilet bowl has coloring in it, that’s a sign you have a leaky toilet.
  5. Try and tackle the problem yourself, or call a professional plumber to get the job done right!

If you need extra help with a running toilet problem in the Baltimore metro area, call one of Pohlman Plumbing’s experts at (443) 961-2886 and we’ll to stop by!

Problem: Toilet Looks Like It’s Going to Overflow

One of the scariest experiences for homeowners is an overflowing toilet. You don’t want that water on your floor; it can spread bacteria and cause damage to your home. Is your toilet bowl filling with water, but doesn’t actually flush the water down the drain, instead slowly draining out over the course of a few minutes? This could be a buildup of minerals such as calcium and lime, or debris such as rust on the jet holes of the toilet bowl. In this case, the answer is a thorough cleaning of the rim and jet holes.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, you may have an issue with the flapper closing too soon and need to adjust the flapper chain.

Replacing an Old, Leaky Toilet

If your bathroom hasn’t been updated in a while, you should know that your old toilet could be a major water hog in your home. Toilets older than 1994 use up to 5 gallons of water per flush, compared to only 1.6 gallons for toilets sold after then. If your toilet leaks constantly and you’re running up your utility bill because of it, it may be time to replace that old, leaky toilet with a newer, better-running one.

Upgrading to a new toilet has many benefits, including:

  • Saving water
  • Lowering your utility bill
  • Better performance
  • Visually appealing designs
  • New technology, such as dual-flushing toilets and composting toilets

Don’t want to DIY your running toilet problem? We’re on it! For professional plumbing service in the Baltimore metro area, contact Pohlman Plumbing today!

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