Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?
Your toilet could possibly be the most important plumbing fixture in your Melbourne home. Like most plumbing problems, if you act quickly after noticing it continues to run then you limit the chances of being left without a toilet. A toilet left to run will also leave you with a hefty water bill and, in a worst-case scenario, a hefty repair bill should the water leak onto the surrounding area causing damage to your home.
In this blog we share what you should look out for and some tips on what you should do if you suspect your toilet is running.
The Common Causes of a Running Toilet:
The first thing in determining the cause of your leaking toilet is to remove the lid off your cistern and inspect the inner working parts. Generally, the lid of a cistern will simply lift off, but in some circumstances, you may need to unscrew the button assembly or remove the secure fixing.
There are only 5 main parts to a toilet (see below), so identifying the problem shouldn’t take too long.
- Cistern Tank: This is what holds the volume of water required to flush your toilet bowl.
- Inlet Valve: The water inlet valve regulates the mains water supply into the cistern tank.
- Flush Valve: The flush valve or outlet valve releases water from the cistern to flush the toilet bowl when the button is pushed.
- Key Seal Rubber: The rubber seal between the cistern tank and toilet bowl.
- Pan Connector: The wastewater seal between the toilet bowl and the drain.
Signs the Above 5 Parts are Leaking:
1. Cistern Tank:
The main fault found is a cracked cistern tank. When a cistern tank is cracked you would generally find water pooling on the surrounding floor area. Another sign could be the sound of the cistern continually filling. If the cistern is cracked and leaking, the inlet valve will allow mains water into the cistern continually replacing the water being lost through the crack.
First thing to do when you notice water on the floor around your toilet is to turn off the water supply to the cistern tank.
2. Inlet valves:
Mains water Inlet valves have a float valve assembly that moves as water empties – or lowers, and fills – or raises, in the cistern. As the cistern empties after being flushed, the float drops, which opens the valve assembly letting water in. Alternatively, as the cistern fills the float rises and gradually closes off the valve once the pre-determined water level is hit. A common fault with an inlet valve is a deteriorated washer, as the float valve raises it closes the washer over the inlet valve seat to stop water entering the cistern. If the washer has become compromised the water will continually enter the cistern and leak into the toilet bowl via the flush valve assembly.
By lifting the lid on the cistern and watching the inlet valve fill you can see the water level raise and it should turn off at the determined height. If water continues to flow through the valve, then the washer needs to be replaced. Alternatively, it could be a matter of adjusting the height of the float valve.
3. Flush Valve:
The flush valve is slightly more complicated as it has several moving and adjustable parts that are operated when pushing either the half or full flush buttons. Some of the common signs you have a failed flush valve are water continually leaking into the toilet bowl. This is not to dissimilar to an inlet valve; a flush valve has a washer at the base of it that seals on a seat preventing water from leaking from the cistern tank into the toilet. If the washer is failing, then water will leak between the seat and run into the toilet bowl.
To determine if this is happening, isolate the water supply and mark the water level in the tank once full. Leave the water turned off for 10 minutes and if the level has dropped when you return chances are you have a leaking flush valve assembly.
4. Flush or Key Seal Rubber:
This provides the seal between the cistern and the toilet bowl. They can perish over time and will generally leak onto the floor after the toilet has been flushed. An easy way to determine if this is leaking is to flush the toilet and hold your hand under the seal, if water drips onto your hand then the seal is leaking and needs to be replaced.
5. Pan Collar or Pan Connector:
This provides the seal between the toilet bowl and the drain. The rubber within the pan connector can also perish over time and may need to be replaced. As with the Key seal rubber, when a pan connector is leaking it will leak onto the floor.
The difference between a leaking key seal vs a pan connector is that a Key seal rubber is leaking clean potable water, whereas a leaking Pan connector is leaking wastewater as this is the water that has passed through the bowl after a toilet flush.
Again, by flushing the toilet and inspecting the seal, you will be able to see if the pan collar is leaking and needs to be replaced.
Tools and materials to fix a running toilet:
- Rubber gloves
- Cistern washer replacement kit
- Teflon Tape
- Replacement Inlet Valve
- Replacement Flush Valve
- Basic Plumbing Tool Kit, see our blog on ‘10 Plumbing Tools Every Household Should Have’
Running Toilet Melbourne Repairs
There are many different makes and models of toilets on the market, so stopping your toilet from leaking and having it flush properly again fast can take years of experience.
For peace of mind and to prevent further damage, call your local expert Master Plumber at Essendon Plumbing Services and we’ll have your toilet flushing again in no time.