It is important to understand how a toilet functions before we discuss ‘Can a running toilet increase your water bill’. We need to know how it operates to learn how to fix a running toilet. The most basic explanation is that the water fills up the toilet tank, and when we flush the toilet, the water gets flushed into the toilet bowl. There are many reasons for the toilet to run water unnecessarily. One is problems in the overflow tube, and the next two are the fill valve and the flush valve. When the toilet water keeps running, more water is carried through the water line to the tank. When this happens, a huge amount of water is continuously used up. This increases the water bill.
Can a Running Toilet Increase Your Water Bill?
A running toilet means wasting a lot of water. Toilets are found to be the most water-consuming source in a house, which is about 30% of average water usage. As long as the toilet water is running, there will be a non-stop filling of the toilet tank, which is a gallon in seconds.
More water flows through the water line into the toilet when this happens. Eventually, the water bills increase. A running toilet uses gallons of water, which can cost you thousands of dollars if left unattended.
Knowing the reason for the constant water flow is important. For example, it can be the flapper, fill, or tube. These fixes don’t even cost much. But the water bills do. So, one can use DIY fixes or get help from a plumber. The news is that a running toilet uses water about 25 or more times than a shower. Remember, if the running water cannot be fixed by adjusting the flapper or the valves and tubes, replacing it with a new toilet is financially cost-effective. An unattended running toilet can cost nearly $200 to $250 per month and nearly $2000 to $3000 a year of water bills down the drain.
If the leak is not extreme, the water bill would not be dramatic. It is found that an average leak wastes about 6000 gallons per month, which can cost an extra $70 to $80 per month. And around $1000 to $2000 a year.
Common Causes of a Running Toilet
Whether the toilet is running a drastic amount of water or not, the water bills will not be discounted. It is always better to fix it as soon as you identify the problem. What is important here is to identify the causes of the leak. Here are a few reasons what it might be:
- Fault in the Flapper Valve: This valve is a rubber placed at the bottom of the toilet tank. When we flush, this valve opens up to allow water to flow into the toilet bowl. When the flapper valve is damaged or worn out, it forms a tight seal, leaking water into the bowl.
- Fault in the Fill Valve: The fill valve fills water into the tank with each flush. When the fill valve is damaged, it fails to regulate the average water level that flows into the tank. This leads to a constant overflow.
- Mineral Deposits: A running toilet can occur when the fill or flush valve has a mineral build-up.
- Water Level: Sometimes, a higher water level in the tank can cause the toilet to overflow through the overflow tube.
- Float Malfunction: This float is used to regulate the level of water filling the tank. The toilet will run water when the float is damaged or stuck.
- Damages or Lost Parts: If any parts of the toilet get damaged, corroded or loosen, the toilet may run water. It can be the flapper valve, the flush handle being stuck or loose, or even the lever arm.
We have Identified Some Possible Causes, but How do you Know Your Toilet is Running?
Here are some ways to identify a running toilet.
- Sound of Continuous Water Flows: If you can hear the continuous flow of water from the toilet, it indicates a running toilet.
- Water Level: If you observe the water level in your toilet tank, you see that it is constantly changing. The toilet may be running.
- Check Inside the Tank: Remove the tank lid and check inside. If the water constantly flows into the overflow tube and the water level is beyond the tube, your toilet is running.
- The Fill Valve: Check on the fill valve; if you find any wear and tear or other debris and clogs, the water may be running.
- Leaks: Check for leaks in the valves and tubes. There may be leaks if you observe any water flow from any of the components. Adjusting, cleaning or replacing components can help.
How to Fix a Running Toilet?
To fix the running toilet, identify where exactly the problem is from. And take the necessary actions towards the issue. Here are the steps to follow:
- Identify the cause of the problem: The first thing to do is, identify the specific cause of the problem. It can be a fault in the flapper, fill valve or flush valve etc.
- Close the water supply: once you have identified a running toilet and its cause, shut it off to the toilet tank.
- Empty the toilet tank: flush the toilet completely, draining the toilet tank.
- Replace if the flapper is damaged: Unscrew and unchain the flapper from the overflow tube. And replace the old flapper with a new one.
- Check for the overflow tube: If the overflow tube is not compatible with the flush valve, the tube can be too short. This can cause the water to run. When this happens replace the flush valve.
- Flush valve damage: If the cause is the flush valve, unscrew the old valve from the bottom of the tank and install the new one.
- The fill valve: If the problem is related to the fill valve, remove the old one and replace it with a new one.
- Tighten the loose tank bolts; Restore the damage by cleaning or unclogging the debris. And replace with new bolts if beyond repair.
- Now turn back the water supply on and fill the tank, wait for the water to fill back, and test for any toilet running issues or leaks. If no problem is detected, close the lid back.
- If you still observe leaks or toilet water flowing out, contact a plumber and fix the problem. The final solution would be to replace the entire toilet set if nothing else works.
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