Has your toilet been running, and running, and running like it's training for a 10k? There are a couple of reasons why this could be happening, but the most likely culprit is a little plastic part called the flapper. This plastic cover sits over the great big pipe that leads from the toilet tank into the bowl. If the flapper gets loose, tears, or starts to break down, water leaks around it, escaping from the tank and into the bowl. As the tank empties, it then needs to fill — and that's where you get the running. Luckily, this is not a terribly hard problem to fix. Here are some basic instructions to follow.
Step 1: Turn off the water, and open the tank.
This is basically the preparation step. Turn off the main water valve that leads into the toilet. This will keep the toilet from continually running and filling as you work on it. Once the water is off, remove the lid from the toilet tank. Then, look for the flapper. It looks like a cap and is about 3 inches in diameter, sitting on top of the pipe.
Step 2: Remove the flapper.
The existing flapper is connected in two places. It's usually snapped into a hinge-like piece on one side and then connected to a chain on its top. Snap it out of the hinge, and then unhook the chain. Do not worry if the plastic cracks when you do this; that's just another sign that the plastic has started to degrade and weaken and that your flapper needs to be replaced.
Step 3: Go buy another flapper.
Take the flapper with you to a hardware store, and compare it to others on the shelf. There are really only a few types of flappers, so you should have no trouble picking out an identical one.
Step 4: Connect the flapper.
Take the new flapper out of its packaging, and hook it up. It's usually easiest to snap the hinge part on and then connect the chain. Make sure the flapper sits snugly in the pipe, and that it lifts up and down when you pull on the chain. Close the tank, turn the water back on, and give the toilet a flush. Your running toilet problem should now be solved.
If you run into any trouble with this fix-it task, call a plumber. They can address this type of toilet leak quite affordably.
To learn more, contact a residential plumbing repair service.