Plumbing in the Home/Toilet running

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QUESTION: Hi Dana,

I have a problem that I hope is simple to fix. My toilet used to sometimes choose to run continuously but now it has decided to never stop running. There is neither a problem with the float nor the seal. The water pours out of the tube and runs over and into the overflow tube.

(I have now turned the water off)

I was thinking golly, it will cost over $100 to get a plumber here so I might as well spend $200 on a new toilet. Then it occurred to me to write to another expert here (I do mice and rats).

What can I do if I want to try to at least diagnose and maybe fix this issue?

It is a two piece handicap toilet. Photos of the label and inside the tank attached. I am in New Jersey, US.

Thank you!

Natasha

ANSWER: Hello Natasha,

If you are reasonably handy, it is not that difficult to change out all of the mechanical parts inside the tank. Everything in the pictures looked pretty old and crusty. LOL, time for an upgrade.

All of the parts are easily obtainable at a big box store like Lowe's or Home Depot. The easiest ones to use are made by a company called Fluidmaster.  There are actually 2 parts, not counting the handle.

The one that controls the water flow is called the "fill valve" or in old terms "ball cock". That's the one on the side that the water connects to from underneath. The part in the center is called the flush valve. It's the one with the rubber flapper that the chain on the handle lifts up to dump the tank into the bowl.

Replacing both of those parts should handle any problems you're having with this toilet.

Good Luck,
Dana

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much! This will be a test of my reasonably handiness ;)

So I just buy these two parts? How do I know which ones to get, or are they completely standard?

Thank you!!

Natasha

ANSWER: Hi Natasha,
I would start with just the fill valve 1st since you say that there is not a problem with the flapper. That is the easiest one to change without taking the toilet apart (separating the tank from the bowl). I've had good luck with the Fluidmaster line. They come with complete instructions and are not difficult to change. If you get the "phantom flush" problem then try just replacing the flapper itself without changing the flush valve. Changing the flush valve requires separating the tank from the bowl and that's not as easy to do if you are inexperienced. The tank itself is quite heavy and not very easy to maneuver. Good luck


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dana,

We did replace the fill valve and the toilet works great :) Then I took a look (my partner put it together) and asked where the water flowed in. Well, if you take a look at my (attached to first message) photo again, you will see what I didn't know was wrong, which is that the water is running freely out of the tube which is supposed to be attached firmly into the overflow mechanism. I had no idea. My excuse is that I have only seen the ball mechanism in the past :)

Um... Was that the only problem?? If I had simply tucked that thing in where it belonged, would it have been fine?

Even if so, it is nice to have clean parts. And it was cheap. Just wondering!!

Thanks,

Natasha

Answer
Hello Natasha,
Yes, the little tube is supposed to go into the overflow pipe in the center. It provides the water to the rim jets and refills the bowl. Having it out of place would not cause the toilet to "run constantly" however. That would be a faulty fill valve not shutting of the water when the tank was full.
Dana

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick

Expertise

Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.

Experience

Retired, Licensed General Contractor with Plumbing license. Active Home Inspector, Litigation Consultant and Infrared Thermographer, Online Marketing specialist.

Publications
ActiveRain.com "Rain Maker" as "Inspector Dana", www.TheGoodMoneyLife.blogspot.com about making money online.

Education/Credentials
30+ years in the building trades, Licensed General Contractor (Retired), Certified Infrared Thermographer Internet Entrepreneur, Amazon & eBay Merchant (deals-by-dana)

Awards and Honors
Listed FHA Fee Inspector, FHA 203(k)Consultant, HUD Mobile Home Inspector

Past/Present Clients
Home buyers, sellers and owners, Investors, Commercial roofing companies (infrared roof scans for moisture intrusion, Litigation Consulting for "Slumlord" laws in SoCal

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