HELP! I NEED A PLUMBER!
TOILET RUNS CONSTANTLY. THE LADY OF THE HOUSE THREATENS DIVORCE (OR MURDER)!
Don’t despair, help is on the way. This is a very easy repair to make in most cases. If you have a standard residential toilet, as opposed to, say, a wall hung model or a low boy or silhouette style, here’s what to do:
1. Remove the tank lid.
2. Reach down under the tank and turn off the shut off valve. Note where the water level is in the tank in relation to the top of the large diameter overflow tube.
3. Flush the toilet, holding the flush handle down to allow almost all of the water to drain out of the tank and into the toilet bow. If the water level is at or above the top of the overflow tube, grasp the float rod with both hands and bend it downward slightly.
Alternatively, you may adjust the screw on the top of the water fill valve (called the ballcock) to lower the water level. If you have a different style ballcock where the float surrounds the ballcock, simply adjust the float downward. Now turn the shutoff valve back on and allow the tank to fill.
Still have the same problem? Then shut the water off again, flush the tank once more and remove the rubber flapper in the bottom of the tank. The new flappers come with a circle of rubber that slips over the overflow tube but you probably won’t need that so simply cut it off, being careful to preserve the two small rubber ears on each side of the rubber circle. Put a new one on, hooking the rubber ears of the flapper over the small stems that stick out on opposite sides of the overflow tube near the bottom. Attach the chain that comes with the rubber flapper to the flush handle near its end. You must have no more than one or two links of slack in the flapper chain. If the chain is too short, it will hold the flapper up off the seat and the toilet will still run. If the chain has too much slack, the toilet won’t flush properly.
You will need to flush multiple times, probably holding down the handle to get everything to flush from the bowl (totally defeating the purpose of low flow toilets). Now turn the water back on and check your toilet’s operation.
There are some cautions to observe in performing the above operations. Corrosion may have weakened the brass float rod and it may break as you try to bend it. If you don’t use both hands to bend the rod, you may break the plastic ballcock. In the first case you will need to replace the float rod; in the second, you might need to replace the ballcock.