Fix a Running Toilet
LESLIE: Listening on WABC we’ve got Liz in New York. What’s going on with the toilet at your house?
LIZ: OK, I live in an older home and every once in a while after I flush the toilet it runs. And my – the box is – it’s a bigger toilet because the house is older. So, I want to know what is the best way to prevent this from happening in the future without having to replace the box.
TOM: No, you don’t have – when you say the box you mean the toilet? You mean the toilet tank?
LESLIE: The tank.
LIZ: The toilet – I don’t know what you call it.
TOM: (chuckling) The box. The toilet box. It’s the toilet tank.
LESLIE: The thing I lean against.
TOM: Yeah. (chuckling) You don’t have to replace the tank. Here’s one thing that’s good about toilets. They never, ever wear out. The physical toilet itself doesn’t wear out. What does wear out are the moving parts inside.
LESLIE: Is this the flush valve or the chain that lifts up the flapper?
LIZ: I think it’s – you know, like when I go to flush it the water doesn’t fill up because the bowl, I guess, or the float – is that what you call it? – doesn’t come down.
TOM: There’s a very simple solution here, Liz. You have two valves inside your toilet. One’s a flush valve and one’s a fill valve. Both of those added together is not going to cost you more than about 15 bucks in parts to replace. Those valves will wear out from time to time. They’re fairly easy to replace. It’s probably one of the only do-it-yourself plumbing jobs I recommend people do.
What you simply have to do is turn the water off to the toilet and once it’s off …
LESLIE: And that’s the valve right outside the toilet, correct?
TOM: Underneath the toilet. Yeah. Once it’s off, you can follow the directions on the box. Probably the most commonly available flush and fill valve is made by Fluidmaster. It fits almost every single toilet out there. Really not hard to do. Follow the instructions on the box. There’s also a good online video instruction at Fluidmaster.com. But this is a pretty straightforward home improvement project and it will quiet up that toilet, it’ll stop the ghost flushing and it’s going to save you a lot of water.
Liz, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.