Is your toilet running? You might not have to run and catch it, as the old joke goes, but you should act quickly to stop the leak and prevent major damage to your water bill. Fortunately, putting a stop to wasted water in your bathroom toilet plumbing can be a relatively simple job that doesn't require a call to the plumber. Check out these tips to help put an end to the waste and annoyance.
Check Your Float
There is a float inside your toilet tank that shuts off the water intake once it reaches a specified height. However, if the float is set above the level of the overflow tube, it will never reach the shutoff height and water will simply drain down the tube into the toilet. This is a simple fix – you just have to adjust the float to a lower position. The exact mechanism for adjusting the float varies depending on your bathroom toilet plumbing, but it's usually a simple matter of loosening a screw or pushing a clip. Many toilets have markings on the tank to indicate the water fill line, and you just need to adjust the float to the same level. Alternatively, if there is no marking, try to set the float so the tank fills to about an inch below the top of the overflow tube.
The Defective Flapper
The flapper opens and closes the valve that leads from the tank to the toilet bowl when you flush. If the flapper isn't operating properly, water can continue to leak into the bowl and run up your bills. There are a few reasons the flapper might not be functioning properly – the chain might be too short, or it might be caught on another piece of bathroom toilet plumbing, preventing the flapper from forming a tight seal. The chain could also be too long, which would limit the volume of your flush. You can add or remove links from the chain until you get it adjusted just right to stop the leakage.
Watch for Worn-Out Parts
If you've checked the obvious areas and your bathroom toilet plumbing keeps leaking water anyway, there's a possibility that your fill valve has worn out and can no longer stop water from coming into the tank. Adjusting the float or flapper won’t help you here. If this is the cause, you’ll need to buy a replacement and swap out the old valve.
Alternatively, the flapper can also develop cracks and chips over time, allowing smaller amounts of water to trickle through. Replacing the flapper entirely – a cheap fix – should correct the problem. And if you've exhausted all these possibilities but the toilet tank continues to leak water into the bowl, it's time to call up your trusted local plumber to get your bathroom toilet plumbing back in good working order.