Toilet Water Running – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

In the middle of the night, I sometimes hear water, as if someone has turned on a faucet or a dishwasher is running. It only lasts a few seconds, but it is of concern. It seems to be coming from the bathroom. Any ideas?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in hearing these sounds, and better news – we don’t need to call an exorcist! It sounds as if the noise is coming from your toilet, and the fix could be quite simple.

Lift off the lid of your toilet. At the bottom, in the center, you will see what is called a flapper valve. This is connected with a chain to the toilet handle. When you press the handle to flush the toilet, the flapper valve lifts up, allowing the water from the tank to empty into the bowl, causing the toilet to flush. As this flapper gets old, it loses its seal and can allow water to escape the tank, going into the bowl. This isn’t a water leak exactly, just water leaving the tank. As the water leaves the tank, the “fill-valve” (the tall piece, usually at the left of the tank) calls for more water, so that the tank is filled. So, without fixing this, you’re going to continually lose water. Over time, this can be costly. In fact, if you have a higher than normal water bill, this could be the cause.

Fixing the problem is fairly easy. First, turn the water off below the toilet at the shut-off valve. Then remove the old flapper by disconnecting the chain from the handle, then remove the flapper. The two most common flappers can then be completely removed by taking the “rabbit ears” off the notches, or, by lifting the flapper up to the top of the tube.

The best thing to do if you aren’t familiar with types of flappers is to go to the hardware store with the old flapper and buy a new one. The installation is just as simple as taking it off. However, once you have it in place, the chain may need to be adjusted. There should only be a slight amount of slack in the chain. If there is too much slack, the flapper may not lift up properly and you may not get a good flush. If the chain is too tight, it may cause the flapper to lift up somewhat, causing water to go into the bowl, and you then have the same problem as you did to begin with. So, be sure to adjust the chain properly. When this is done, cut off any excess chain, so that the flapper can’t get caught in the excess.

You’re done! Just turn the water back on, let the tank fill up and turn off. Then, just listen to see if any water is escaping. Or, a great little trick, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then come back and look into the toilet bowl. If there isn’t any colored water, you’re all set!

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Toilet Handle – Get It Done – Ask the Handyman St. Louis

Why is it that I have to hold down the lever on one of my toilets and not on the others to make a complete flush? Is there an adjustment I can make? Thanks.

This can be a source of frustration, especially when nothing appears to be wrong. There are a couple of possibilities, however, and the fix might be an easy one.

Inside the toilet there is a chain that connects the flushing handle to the “flapper” (the covering which is usually at the bottom of the tank where the water drains out). Sometimes, the chain has too much play in it. It should only have a small amount of slack. If it has too much slack, the flapper may not raise up all the way when the handle is pushed. If it doesn’t have any slack, it may not let the flapper rest all the way completely down.

In your case, it could be too much slack, so try adjusting it. First, turn the water off to the toilet by closing the “shut-off valve” which is located under the toilet tank where the water comes out of the wall. Turn the valve clockwise to stop the water flow. Then unhook the pin at the end of the handle bar. Put the pin down a few links in the chain (towards the flapper), making it slightly shorter in length. Reinstall the “hook” or “pin” onto the end of the handle. You’ll then need to turn your toilet shut-off valve back on, let the tank fill up, and see if this did the trick. If not, you may need to adjust it a little more.

If the chain adjustment doesn’t completely fix the problem, there is one more thing to check. Look at how the flapper is attached to the tank. It should have either “ears” or a “ring” attachment. The ears will be on either side of a tube which stands in the toilet – it’s the tube where the water goes down when the toilet is filling up. These ears are small pieces that stick out slightly and the collar of the flapper fits into the ears. A different way of attaching the flapper to this tube is by a ring on the flapper which goes over the tube and rests on the bottom. Both the “ears” and the “ring” are designed to keep the flapper in place. You should have one or the other. If you have both, the flapper gets into a bind and won’t operate freely. If that is the case, remove the ring and use only the ears.

Good Luck!

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Get It Done THE St Louis Handyman Service – Fixing a Toilet Handle

Why is it that I have to hold down the lever on one of my toilets and not on the others to make a complete flush?  Is there an adjustment I can make?  Thanks Get It Done!

J. E.   Webster Groves

This can be a source of frustration, especially when nothing appears to be wrong.  There are a couple of possibilities, however, and the fix might be an easy one.  You can do this yourself without calling a St Louis handyman.

Inside the toilet there is a chain that connects the flushing handle to the “flapper” (the covering which is usually at the bottom of the tank where the water drains out).  Sometimes, the chain has too much play in it.  It should only have a small amount of slack.  If it has too much slack, the flapper may not raise up all the way when the handle is pushed.  If it doesn’t have any slack, it may not let the flapper rest all the way completely down.

In your case, it could be too much slack, so try adjusting it.  First, turn the water off to the toilet by closing the “shut-off valve” which is located under the toilet tank where the water comes out of the wall.  Turn the valve clockwise to stop the water flow.  Then unhook the pin at the end of the handle bar.  Put the pin down a few links in the chain (towards the flapper), making it slightly shorter in length.  Reinstall the “hook” or “pin” onto the end of the handle.  You’ll then need to turn your toilet shut-off valve back on, let the tank fill up, and see if this did the trick.  If not, you may need to adjust it a little more.

If the chain adjustment doesn’t completely fix the problem, there is one more thing to check.  Look at how the flapper is attached to the tank.  It should have either “ears” or a “ring” attachment.  The ears will be on either side of a tube which stands in the toilet – it’s the tube where the water goes down when the toilet is filling up.  These ears are small pieces that stick out slightly and the collar of the flapper fits into the ears.  A different way of attaching the flapper to this tube is by a ring on the flapper which goes over the tube and rests on the bottom.  Both the “ears” and the “ring” are designed to keep the flapper in place.    You should have one or the other.  If you have both, the flapper gets into a bind and won’t operate freely.   If that is the case, remove the ring and use only the ears.

Good Luck!

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THE St Louis Handyman Service