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Cost Savings Tip: Fixing a Running Toilet Can Save You Big

Is your water bill higher for no apparent reason? Are you conserving water yet your bill has tripled in the last month? While you think you may not be using large amounts of water on a daily basis, something else in your house might be: your toilet.

How to Know Your Toilet Is Running

The faint trickling sound coming from your bathroom may seem innocent, but behind that ambient noise is really a monster water bill waiting to reveal its ugly head. Before you rack up a costly water bill, here are a few indicators there may be an issue.

1. You hear the sound of water running from your toilet when it’s not in use.

2. Your toilet randomly flushes on its own.

3. You hear your tank fill up with water at random times when it’s not being used.

Let’s break down each scenario.

Your Toilet Runs Constantly

If you hear the sound of water running from your toilet when it’s not in use, don’t ignore it. This could be an indicator that your fill valve (the part that lets water refill the tank after a flush) is hanging, which could lead to the seal in the water tank not properly engaging as it should. When the fill valve isn’t sealing, it allows water to seep through rather than holding a reserve of water in the tank. This is a small but easy fix that could save you money in the long run.

The fill valve is more technical, and you may need an expert to assist you. When in doubt, first try to replace the flapper. If you are still having trouble or high water bills, that’s an indicator that your fill valve is broken. If this is the case, call a plumber to fix the problem.

Ghost Flushing

No, you’re not going crazy. Your toilet really is flushing on its own. This is known as “ghost flushing.” Ghost flushing wastes a significant amount of water in a short period of time, leading to expensive monthly water bills. Be sure to address this issue as soon as possible.

When your toilet flushes on its own, this is an indicator that your flush valve is hanging. This byproduct occurs when either a toilet overflow tube has been improperly installed or the flapper/tank ball inside is deteriorating and allowing water to slowly drain from the tank.

The overflow tube is the component that prevents a toilet tank from filling up with too much water and overflowing. If the water level in the tank rises above the overflow tube the toilet will flush to prevent overflow.

You can easily check if your flapper or tank ball is to blame for ghost flushing. Open your tank and feel along the bottom of your tank for a ball tethered to a chain or strap. Then, rub your finger along the inside of the edge of the ball. If material comes off on your finger, your flapper/tank ball is deteriorating and should be replaced.

Most homeowners can fix a flapper. Simply go to any big box store with the defective flapper or seat disc and ask for a replacement. The kit comes with the parts and instructions on how to install it yourself. As long as you’re not afraid to open the toilet tank up, you can do it!

Tank Filling Up on Its Own

Another water waster is when your tank continuously tries to fill up with water.

If you hear your tank still filling long after you’ve flushed, this is a sign that your fill valve is hanging. The fill valve is what allows the tank to refill with water.  When your fill valve stops working properly, water can continuously flow out of your toilet and directly into the sewer. This will trigger your tank to “reset” and fill up with water again; without having a working fill tank valve, the leaky cycle will continue until its fixed.

We hope you found this information helpful in diagnosing toilet problems. If you have questions or need assistance fixing your leaky toilet, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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