Running toilets are one of the most common plumbing issues around the home. They’re also incredibly wasteful – a running toilet could waste up to 216 litres of water per hour.
That’s bad news for your water bill and it’s bad news for the environment.
Luckily, if your toilet won’t stop flushing, it’s usually an easy fix for your plumber. If you want to have a go at the problem yourself, there are a few things you can do to identify and repair the issue.
Causes of a Toilet that Won’t Stop Flushing
Toilets are very simple appliances. But they get used all day, every day, and that takes its toll on the internal components.
The dual flush toilets we use in Australia have several seals, springs and moving parts that can wear out. As these parts deteriorate, they often cause water to continuously flush into your toilet bowl. This issue may happen all of a sudden, or it may get worse over time.
There are a few things that can cause a toilet to flush continuously:
Old, hardened or damaged flush washer seals
Faulty fill valve
Incorrect fill height
Flush buttons getting stuck open
Most of these issues are simple to fix and can be tackled by a keen DIYer. Below, we’ll look at some of the steps you can take to check or repair these common faults.
How to Fix a Toilet that Won’t Stop Flushing
1. Inspect the toilet fill valve
A faulty toilet valve can continuously leak water into the cistern, which may cause it to overflow and run into the bowl.
Remove the cistern’s lid. You can check whether the valve is leaking by flushing the toilet. Watch the valve as the toilet refills and make sure it doesn’t overflow. If the toilet fills up past the float line, the fill valve may need to be replaced by your plumber.
2. Turn off the water supply
Before we go any further, we need to turn off the water supply to prevent the toilet from leaking while we’re working on it. The tap is usually located:
At the wall near the base of the toilet
Inside the cistern
Turn the tap or valve firmly to the off position, but don’t overtighten.
3. Flush the toilet
Working on a toilet is much easier if the cistern is empty. Flush the toilet until most of the water is gone. Now is also a good time to clean out the cistern and wash away any buildups of dirt or minerals.
Once you’ve flushed the toilet, you can soak up the remaining water with a thick sponge, but this is optional.
4. Ensure the fill height is set correctly
A toilet cistern uses a fill valve to ensure it doesn’t overflow. If your toilet won’t stop running, there’s a chance that the float is set too high and that water is constantly draining through the overflow pipe. The cistern’s fill height can be adjusted using the float valve. The float valve is designed to raise and lower along with the water level.
In many toilets, the float is a concentric ring that’s fitted around the fill tube. As the water level changes, the float rises and falls, which controls the fill valve via a lever.
Toilet floats are adjustable. You can use the adjustment screw or lever to change how high the water level sits. The ideal water level should be marked on the overflow pipe. If it’s not marked, you can simply set the water level so that it’s 2-3cm lower than the intake on the overflow pipe.
4. Make sure the button mechanism works properly
Dual flush toilets feature two buttons that operate rods connected to the underside of the button. These rods press down on the flush valve (the column in the middle of the cistern).
With the lid off the cistern, press both of the buttons on the flush valve to make sure they work properly. We want to make sure that the buttons return all the way up after being pressed. If the button doesn’t return all the way, the flush valve may need to be repaired or replaced.
5. Inspect or replace the flush washer
If you can’t find a problem with the fill valve, float or button mechanism, chances are that the flush washer is to blame.
The flush washer (also called a flush seal) is responsible for sealing water in the cistern. When you press the flush button, the washer is lifted and water flows into the bowl. These washers wear out due to age and normal use, and they need to be replaced periodically.
To get at the flush washer you’ll need to lift out the central button mechanism – this is called the flush valve or outlet valve. The assembly may be clipped in place, or you may need to rotate the column a quarter turn to release a bayonet-style fitting.
Lift out the button mechanism and look for a circular rubber seal on the bottom – this is the flush washer. The washer should be able to be removed by hand and replaced.
You can purchase generic replacement flush washers from hardware stores like Bunnings.
Don’t Put up with Toilets That Won’t Stop Flushing – Contact Liqwyd Solutions Instead!
Fixing a toilet that won’t stop flushing is usually a simple task. Repairing your toilet is a DIY-friendly task if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves, or you can contact the team at Liqwyd Solutions for help.
Liqwyd Solutions is a residential plumber that works throughout the Brisbane region. We offer a comprehensive maintenance plumbing service that can take care of any little leaks or repairs you need. Leaky toilets are one of the most common issues we encounter, so our plumbers know exactly how to keep your day flowing.
Get in touch with us for a quote and to book your appointment!