Basics on How to Fix a Stopped Up Toilet

If you are a resident of Winston Salem NC, then you will find yourself looking for plumbing support. Stopped up toilets can be a frequent occurrence. Flush toilets are very simple mechanisms that have not changed much since they were first invented. The tank on the back of the toilet is filled with water, and there is usually a float controlled valve that stops the water flowing into the tank when it is full, this is called the ballcock valve. There is a second valve controlled by the handle on the toilet that releases the water in the tank, so it flushes the bowl, this is called the flush valve. When the handle is released the flush valve should close, and the tank should fill again until the float reaches a level that shuts the ballcock valve and stops the water flowing into the tank.
If your toilet keeps running, then this indicates that the water is continuing to run into the tank, and one of the valves is not working correctly. This will more than likely effect your water bill which will increase your cost of Utilities. There is an overflow tube in the toilet tank to prevent water from overflowing the tank and onto the floor. The water in the tank is clean water directly from your household supply, and there will usually be a tap just below the toilet to shut off the flow of water to the tank.

Flush Valve
The flush valve is the first suspect if your toilet keeps running. If the flush valve does not stop the water from flowing out of the tank, then the float will not reach a level to shut the ballcock valve, and the water keeps running into the tank. If your toilet runs intermittently then it could be a slow leak through the flush valve and the float may rise enough at first to shut off the water but then slowly the water level drops until the ballcock valve opens again to let in more water.

If jiggling the handle stops the toilet running then you should look at the chain or lever that connects the handle to the flush valve. The flush valve may look like a softball-sized rubber ball on a hinge type mechanism at the bottom of the tank. It is connected by a chain or lever to the handle, so it is pulled up on its hinge from its seat (the hole at the bottom of the tank) and the water escapes. If the chain is tangled or the lever bent the flush valve may not be returning properly to its seat, and the water is not stopped from running out of the tank. Make sure the chain is long enough to let the flush valve close properly.

If the flush valve is old, it may have become hardened or bent in such a way that it is not closing properly. This is usually what causes your toilet to run intermittently. A new flush valve is only a few dollars at your local hardware or plumbing supply store. Be sure to take your old flush valve and the make and model of your toilet with you when you buy a new one. To test your flush valve before you remove it, try adding some food coloring to the water in the tank and then watch the water in the toilet bowl to see if it starts to change color indicating that water is escaping from the tank into the bowl. It may take a few hours for the water in the bowl to change color if it is a slow leak.
To empty the tank to remove your flush valve, first, shut off the water to the tank at the tap below the toilet then flush the water from the tank. Disconnect the chain or lever from the flush valve and slide it out of its hinging mechanism. If you are unable to get the flush valve working properly, then it would be best to contact some winston salem plumbers.

Ballcock Valve

The other suspect that might keep your toilet running is the ballcock valve and the float. Usually, this is adjusted correctly when the toilet is installed, but it is possible that the float is not rising high enough to shut the ballcock valve. If the water is running down the overflow tube, then this is an indication that the ballcock valve is not shutting. If you add food coloring to the water in the tank, and you do not see a change in the color of the water in the tank after waiting a few hours, then it is probably the ballcock valve that is not working correctly. You may see adjusting screws on the top of the ballcock valve connected to a rod that holds the float. You want to lower the float, so it shuts the valve sooner as the water rises. Sometimes bending the rod a bit to lower the float also works. You should also check to make sure that your float is floating. If for any reason you find yourself unable to get the ballcock valve working, then check out this local plumbers website at www.plumbersinwinstonsalemnc.org

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