My toilet keeps flushing, Why?

#Amy Holden 17 Dec 2020
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continuously flushing toilet

Making do without a shower is terribly inconvenient, but when your toilet malfunctions, it becomes a nightmare. One of the most popular queries we recieved are, I have a toilet that keeps continuously flushes and won't stop no matter how many times it's flushed. There are many reasons for why this happens, but before you give us a shout, why not try tackling the issue yourself.

This is very annoying, not only because of the constant flushing sound, but the large volumes of water being wasted and potentially costing you a fortune. In the shortfall, you will want to shut off the water to the toilet via a stopcock or shut-off valve, if there is one available.

Here are some initial checks that you can do to determine the issue:

Inspect the toilet flapper/valve seal

A common suspect of a constantly flushing toilet is a damaged flush valve seal. This seal effectively keeps water from leaking from the cistern after the toilet has been flushed. If it has malfunctioned, the water from the cistern will keep running into the toilet pan.

By gaining access to the cistern, you should be able to look inside and inspect the seal and subsequent rubber flapper. If you do not notice anything alarming, but still suspect that water is running through the valve, you can run another test with a food colouring dye. Pour a sample into the tank and see if it appears in the bowl. If the dye spills into the pan, then rest assured your flapper will need to be replaced. Before you attempt a replacement, check that this is simply not a build up of debris around the flapper. Your problem can easily be resolved by stiff clean up operation.

Cleaning the Flapper

There are several options on the market for an effective cistern clean-out. If you wish to seek a less commerical option, fill up the cistern with vinegar and water. Remove the flapper from the tank, unhooking it from the chain and pulling the pegs out from where it attaches to the overflow tube. Leave the flapper in the bowl of vinegar and let it soak for up to an hour. After the time has elapsed, wipe the flapper down and then fix it back into place and flush to test the job has worked a treat.

Replacing the Flapper

Replacing the flapper is straight forward, but know that they come in various sizes, and you will need to measure yours to get a suitable matching replacement.

Do you Have a Pull Handle, Push Button or Chain?

If you have the latter, then you will want to check the length of the pull chain. It could be causing the problem directly. If you find it is on the longer side, it could be getting caught on the flapper as it returns back to it's keep; causing it not to seal properly. On the otherhand, If the chain is too short, then the flapper won't be able to close at all, as the chain will be restricting it's ability to seal effectively.

Examine the Toilet Tank Floating Ball and Float Arm

Another issue that could be causing the problem is the float ball and arm. The float ball and arm tell the toilet when there's enough water to successfully flush the toilet at an optimum.

By lifting up the Float Arm, you may figure that the water leak instantly stops running. If this has fixed your case, the issue is to do with the toilet Flushing mechanism.

Your Floating Ball may be trapped against the cistern wall, however if this is not the case, then the other problem could be a hairline crack in the ball. A crack stops the ball from floating to the top by filling it up with water. Again, you will need a replacement for toilet functionality to return back to it's former greatness.

Check the water level

If none of the above solutions work, it could be that the water pressure is to high and causing too much water to flood into to the cistern. This is adjustable by changing the level at which the Float Ball decides to shut off the water valve (filling the tank). Depending on what type of Float Ball you have, you may need to adjust this with a screwdriver.

Overflowing Toilet Due to a Blockage

There are serveral issues that can cause an a toilet to constantly run and we have listed the most common call-out problems. Your toilet malfunction may be caused by more erroneous issues like a blockage within your system. This will most certainly cause inconsistances with water levels and subsequent flushing. If you have reviewed all other solutions and fear it may be a blockage, please see How to Unblock a Toilet

When it is Time to Seek More Professional Help

The soltions feature here are known to solve 9 out of 10 issues. If you happen to be one of the more unfortunate 1 out of 10's, then we're affarid it's time to call in the preofessionals. Bristol Plumber 24/7 (Emergency Plumbing Serives) are on hand to assist you.