Who doesn’t know this: the toilet flushes it drips and drips, or the water keeps running. No matter how you press the flush button, the toilet doesn’t stop flushing. Often the reason is a leaking cistern. Find out which parts in the cistern may be causing the water to run continuously.
A defective toilet flush can be expensive. The flush should be repaired immediately so that the water and with it the money don’t rush unnecessarily down the drain. With a little guidance, even the do-it-yourselfer can do it.
A constantly running or dripping toilet cistern should not be ignored because ten or more liters are lost every day due to a defective toilet flush. This drives up water costs – there is a risk of additional payments.
So what to do? It is best to contact the landlord immediately so that the damage can be repaired quickly, advises Ulrich Ropertz from the German Tenants’ Association in Berlin. If a lot of water is lost in the meantime, the tenant must also shut off the water and only turn it on again when necessary.
Toilet flush broken and water keeps running: Act quickly
The problem of an over-running toilet flush often develops gradually: A thin trickle continues to flow quietly. You only notice it when the toilet flushes dripping or the water ripples loudly. Therefore, check regularly whether the toilet is flushed continuously.
This can be one of the reasons why the toilet doesn’t flush – the water tank is simply empty. Then act quickly before the problem manifests itself in an expensive water bill or, in the worst case, the bathroom is flooded.
The good news: toilet flushes work according to a simple technical principle, and repairs are often uncomplicated . In many cases you can solve the problem yourself – without a plumber.
If the toilet does not flush: find the cause
The toilet flush runs continuously, and the flushing pressure is bad? This indicates a problem in the cistern.
Defective seals, valves or float parts are often the cause. Therefore, you should first turn off the water supply, flush and remove the cistern lid . Using the operating arm, pull up the siphon bell to allow the water in the box to drain. Now you can check all parts.
First examine the rubber seals on the bottom and on the upper inlet of the cistern: if these have become hard or porous, you should replace them.
Dirty and calcified seals can also lead to problems and should therefore be cleaned. The same applies to the inlet and corner valves : if the valves are badly worn or damaged, a complete replacement may be necessary. If they are dirty or calcified, cleaning will help.
If you have not yet found the cause, check the float , float rod and float valve, also known as the filling valve, in the next step. Because if the cistern is leaking and the toilet flushing runs and runs, this is often due to the float elements.
The toilet flush runs continuously: check the float
The float controls the flow of water into the cistern and keeps the water level constant by stopping the flow of water when the level is high enough. When the toilet is flushed, the float valve opens and the cistern fills with water again.
When the target level is reached, the valve closes again. This circuit is disturbed when the float valve no longer closes properly . Water then flows continuously into the cistern – the toilet continues to be flushed.
First check if the float and guide are wedged. If this is the case, carefully loosen the wedge in the linkage with your hands. If the float is made of rigid foam , this may be the cause: these old models become soaked with water over the years, so that they no longer have any buoyancy – then the float should be replaced with a new model.
If neither is the case, a more detailed examination of the float valve is recommended. Do you see calcifications or dirt ? Limescale deposits that have formed on the valve over the years often mean that it no longer closes properly. Cleaning usually helps to solve the problem of the leaking toilet flush.
Cleaning the float when the toilet flush drips
Carefully remove the float and float valve and place them in a bowl. Put a limescale remover on it and leave it on for at least 30 minutes, preferably a few hours. Various commercially available products and some home remedies have proven themselves:
- Limescale tabs
- vinegar or vinegar essence
- citric acid
- Dilute 25 percent hydrochloric acid
Take out the float and rinse it with warm water. Remove the remaining lime residue with a small brush. Reinstall the float. If the toilet flush works properly again, you have solved the problem. Is the toilet still flushing ? Then you can’t avoid buying a new float in a specialist shop or hardware store.
Tip: It is best to always have all float elements, rubber seals and valves in stock.
Prevention is everything: Preventing the toilet flush from running continuously
While you’re at it and have opened the cistern: Whether rubber seals, valves, floats with inlet valve, siphon bell, movement arm or inlet and standpipe – check all elements of the cistern and clean them , even if they are not or only slightly dirty or calcified are.
You should also clean the fixed parts and the inside of the cistern with a wire brush or something similar. For prevention, do this procedure once a year.
Remember: Limescale deposits are not only an ideal breeding ground for bacteria , but can also damage the entire rinsing water mechanism. With proper cistern care, you stand a good chance of preventing a leaky toilet cistern in the future.
Dirty or worn seals are often the reason for defective toilets. Also the float can be broken or jammed and the valve can not work. Many parts can be operated again if they are cleaned. Disassemble individual parts and place them in vinegar or citric acid to dissolve limescale residue. Seals can be cleaned with washing-up liquid.
If cleaning does not help, individual parts must be replaced. The search for the defective part is often tedious and takes a long time because you have to try again and again. So, try to check your toilet for any problem regularly.