What Causes Toilets To Keep Running?


Here in Rock Springs and throughout the beautiful landscapes of Wyoming, we’re no strangers to the quirks and quibbles of home maintenance. And what could be more telling of a hiccup in our household harmony than the constant whisper of water from a running toilet?

Understanding the Toilet

Here at Aspen Mountain Plumbing, we understand that toilets are unassuming yet vital. Squatting quietly in the corners of our bathrooms, they handle our necessities without fanfare. But when they act up, they have a peculiar way of holding our attention hostage. Regular check-ups can keep these porcelain thrones in loyal service and prevent unforeseen water wastefulness or a surprise in your utility bill.

Certainly! The standard toilet is a surprisingly simple machine, with several key elements that interplay to manage your bathroom’s flushing mechanism.

Key Elements of a Toilet and their Functions:

  • Handle and Flush Rod: The journey of a flush begins at the handle. When you push the handle, it lifts the flush rod (or chain link) connected to the flapper or tank ball.   
  • Lift Chain: Attached to the flush rod is the lift chain. This chain lifts the flapper from the valve seat when the handle is pressed, allowing water to flow from the tank into the bowl.
  • Flapper or Tank Ball: This is the rubber or plastic valve that seals the water in the tank. Once the handle is activated, the flapper or tank ball lifts, initiating a flush.   
  • Flush Valve Seat: This is the opening at the bottom of the tank where the flapper or tank ball sits. When the flapper or tank ball is lifted away from the flush valve seat, water rushes into the toilet bowl.
  • Tank: The toilet tank houses water needed to flush the toilet and contains the working mechanisms that control the release and refill of water.
  • Overflow Tube: This safety device ensures that if the fill valve fails to shut off, excess water drains into the toilet bowl instead of overflowing the tank.
  • Fill Valve (Ballcock): Regulating the water level in the tank, the fill valve refills the tank after a flush. It is connected to the water supply line and typically has a float that rises and falls with the water level. 
  • Fill Float: The float, which is either a ball float attached to an arm or a cup float that moves up and down with the fill valve, signals the fill valve to shut off water flow when the correct water level is reached. 
  • Rim Jets/Siphon Jets and Bowl Siphon: When water rushes from the tank, it enters the bowl through rim jets around the edge and one or more siphon jets at the bottom, creating a swirling action that leads to the siphon effect in the bowl.    
  • Siphon Effect: This is the action triggered in the bowl that actually clears the contents by sucking water and waste from the bowl down the drain. It’s aided by the trapway design—a built-in S-bend in the porcelain.
  • Trapway (S-Trap): The trapway is the pipe that transports water and waste from the bowl to the home’s sewer system. Its S-shaped curve maintains water in the bowl after flushing, which blocks sewer gases from entering the home.
  • Wax Seal (and Mounting Flange): Not a part of the actual flushing mechanism, but vital nonetheless, the wax seal sits between the toilet base and the drainpipe, preventing leaks. The mounting flange connects the toilet to the floor and the drainpipe.

Each part of the toilet serves a straightforward purpose, but it’s in their orchestration that your quiet, unassuming bathroom fixture conceals its engineering marvel. When you initiate a flush, these components work in unison to dispose of waste and refill the toilet, preparing it for the next use. Should any part fail, the harmonious operation of a flush is disrupted, leading to problems like a running toilet which, as you’ve seen, Aspen Mountain Plumbing can adeptly address.

Your Toilet’s Endless Running

In order to determine the root cause of our persistently running toilet and potentially alleviate a variety of minor issues cumulatively resulting in excessive water usage, a thorough inspection and troubleshooting approach is recommended. And if you’re tired of your old toilet and want to look into installing a new one, consider Aspen Mountain Plumbing’s toilet replacement service.

The Mischievous Flapper

A running toilet often speaks of a betrayed partnership between the flapper and the tank. If the flapper is cracked or warped – a tale told as often as the winter wind whistles through our vacant plains – it permits a trickle of water to leak continuously into the bowl.

The Overzealous Overflow Tube

The overflow tube stands guard, ensuring water doesn’t escape the tank. Yet, if the tank’s water level is too high, this sentinel becomes a spout, funneling precious water down and away, never to be used.

The Confessions of a Faulty Fill Valve

With the fill valve, the issue lies within. The valve that should herald the end of refilling might falter, leaving the water to run as endlessly as the Green River.

Chain Reaction – The Delicate Balance

A chain too short, my plumbing comrades, and the flapper won’t seal. Too long, and it won’t lift enough to flush. It’s akin to finding the perfect length of reins for your steed – a necessity for proper control.

The Silent Saboteur – Mineral Build-up

The waters in Wyoming are as hardy as our spirit, carrying minerals that can, over time, manifest in a layer of sediment within the tank, disrupting the harmony of the flushing mechanism.

The Tank Leaks

Lastly, we face the foe of elusiveness – the tank leak. It’s a stealthy thing, often unnoticed yet capable of ghosting away gallons of water, echoing only through the hollowness of an unanticipated bill.

Aspen Mountain Plumbing Toilet Repair Experts

Remember, every drop matters in our arid Wyoming landscapes. And while a running toilet might seem like a small bother when stacked against the vast worries of the world, addressing it is our way of caring for the water that sustains us.

So if your toilet is whispering woes to you in the midnight hour, don’t ignore its call. Schedule your service on the Aspen Mountain Plumbing website, or give us a call directly at (307) 922-4413.

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