Is My Toilet Running? 6 Signs of a Problem

Aug 16, 2021

We have all heard of the infamous running toilet—whether through jokes or plumbing horror stories. However, for some homeowners, it is not always clear what it means to have a running toilet. So how can you tell if your toilet is running? The plumbers at Newcomb and Company are here with the top 6 signs you can look out for.

Running Toilet Sign 1: Toilet Noises

It is no secret that toilets can be noisy. Thankfully, these noises can help reveal issues when your toilet is due for repair. For example, you might hear a hissing sound from a running toilet after flushing instead of the usual gurgling sound. You might also hear water running from your toilet—even when nobody has used it recently. Many homeowners discover running toilets in the middle of the night when the home is quiet and the noises are easier to hear.

Running Toilet Sign 2: High Water Bill

While it might seem obvious, running toilets waste your water. In some cases, they can flush hundreds of dollars down the drain. If you notice unusually high water bills, they could be indicating a running toilet. However, high water bills could be a sign of a plumbing leak somewhere else in your home. Additionally, subtle running toilets might not leave a noticeable mark on your monthly bill—so be sure to look out for other signs of toilet runs as well.

Running Toilet Sign 3: The Dye Test

Thankfully, you may not have to wonder too much if your toilet is running because you can easily test it. Here is a quick step-by-step guide to the dye test for running toilets:

  • Step 1: Remove the lid from the top of your tank.
  • Step 2: Insert a blue water cleaning tab or a few drops of food coloring.
  • Step 3: Do not flush your toilet—leave it sitting idle for 25-45 minutes.
  • Step 4: Check the toilet bowl. If the colored water from the tank leaked into the bowl without any flushing, this is a sign that you have a running toilet.

Keep in mind—this test will only check for leaks caused by flapper issues. While flapper troubles are most common, there are a few other potential culprits that can lead to running toilets. As such, you might continue to check for other signs of a running toilet even if your tank passes the dye test.

Running Toilet Sign 4: Inconsistent Water Movement

Can you imagine if your sink faucet spontaneously turned on and off? Or if it continued to run several minutes after you returned the knob to the “off” position? This inconsistent water movement would indicate an issue and waste incredible amounts of water. Like any plumbing fixture, your toilet should only work as you tell it to. Does your water take longer than usual to turn off after a flush? Perhaps it seems to be cycling on and off? These inconsistencies are the sign of a running toilet.

Running Toilet Sign 5: Expert Insight

Are you still unsure whether or not you have a running toilet? During a plumbing inspection or service call, a professional plumber can tell you—once and for all—if your toilet is running. They can also work with you to develop and implement a repair plan. Thankfully, an expert can often complete running toilet repairs the same day as your initial visit.

Running Toilet Sign 6: Low Water Pressure

Have you ever been in the shower while someone flushed the toilet? You might have noticed your shower water pressure drop considerably while some of the water diverted to your toilet. When you have a running toilet, it can divert water continuously, leading to low water pressure in other areas of your home. As such, low water pressure often indicates a running toilet or a leak somewhere else in your home.

What Should I Do When I Find a Running Toilet?

So what can you do when you find your toilet running? First, shut off the water to prevent further leaking and water waste. You should find a knob behind your toilet connected to your water line. Simply turn this knob until you hear the water stop running. Next, contact your plumber to make an appointment. The sooner you get a professional through your door for support, the more time, money, and inconvenience you will save.

Toilet Repair in Raleigh: Newcomb and Company

If your toilet is running, the Raleigh plumbers at Newcomb and Company are here to help. Our experienced plumbers are proficient in toilet repair, installation, and maintenance services. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area, including Raleigh, Knightdale, Clayton, Garner, Cary, and beyond. You can give our local plumbing experts a call to get started today!

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