There are very few sounds that are more annoying than a running toilet. When your Grand Forks home is quiet, the sound of water running for no reason floats through the house, taunting you. It dares you to jiggle the handle and stop the commotion. But in most cases, homeowners choose to forget the sound almost as quickly as it appeared to ruin the tranquility of their silent abode. In reality, the sound invasion on our quiet moments appears to hold more value than the water running down the drain. Or so you think.
The Cost Of This Particular Annoyance
It is important to note that a properly functioning toilet consumes about 30% of every home’s monthly water consumption. You can do the math when reviewing your next water bill to determine how much water that happens to be in your case. But when you have a malfunctioning toilet, every 30 seconds of annoying sound represents a gallon of water wasted. And understand that the sound is only the tank refilling. The leak is a constant waste of water. The EPA estimates that a toilet that runs randomly for a month will waste hundreds of gallons of water at the very least.
Some Affordable Solutions
If you can jiggle the handle of your toilet and stop it from running, the issue is likely to be in the flapper valve or the small chain that connects the handle to the flapper. Before touching the handle, lift the tank’s lid to see if the chain is catching on the flapper. Adjusting or replacing the chain takes about 5 minutes and costs only pennies compared to the water that is being wasted.
The other common reason for a running toilet is a worn-out flapper. The rubber piece that covers the connection to the toilet tank gets old and no longer seals. It allows a small amount of water to trickle from the holding tank into the bowl. And when enough water has drained into the bowl, the autofill kicks on to refill the tank. That is the annoying sound you hear that can remind you of fingernails on a chalkboard.
Older flappers are made of black rubber. When you touch the top of the flapper, it will leave a black smudge on your fingers if the finish is worn out. This is a good indication that it is time to purchase a new one to prevent leaks. Even if the smudge test does not work, you can press on the top of the flapper to see if that seals the drain. If that added pressure seats it and stops the leaking, you know that it should be replaced. Head to the store to grab an affordable replacement.
One Final Test
If you are not sure that there is a leak between the holding tank and the toilet bowl, a few drops of food coloring will tell the tale. Put a few drops of food coloring into the water in the toilet’s holding tank. Make sure it is enough to make the color noticeable. Leave for about 30 minutes. When you return, check the color of the water in the toilet bowl. If it is colored, you know that the water has leaked into the bowl, and you should replace the worn-out flapper.
If replacing the flapper or fill assembly in your toilet is not a job you want to tackle, or you think that a new toilet is the best solution, call (701) 402-6442. The licensed plumbers at Total Care Plumbing are here to assist you in eliminating water waste and lowing your water bill.