When you’re not a plumber, it can be hard to know if your plumbing problem merits an afterhours emergency call to the professionals. A running toilet might be one such point of confusion for you. Thankfully, a running toilet is not an emergency. Even if the toilet that is running is clogged, and so water is overflowing the bowl or basin, you can just turn off the water to the toilet with the valve on the supply line. All you need to do then is wait for the plumber’s regular business hours.

Still, while a running toilet is not an emergency, it’s not a non-issue. Leaving a toilet running can create quite the hassle for you, so you should know how to spot and why to fix it.

Wait–Or Is It An Emergency?

While for those who own their own home, getting a running toilet fixed is not an emergency, there may be one circumstance where it is. If you own a rental unit or are a property manager, and the tenant calls you to complain of a clogged and running toilet, then it may be an emergency. This is especially true if your tenant doesn’t have access to the valve to turn off water to the toilet. It is also your legal responsibility to provide at least one functional toilet, so these circumstances may merit an emergency call to a plumber.

Why Get a Running Toilet Fixed?

When a toilet flushes, it uses the water from its tank and pumps it into the bowl. After that, it refills the basin with water from the supply line. When a toilet is running it means that water is always pouring into the tank. This is like leaving a tap running, except that you might not even notice that your toilet is running. While it is running the toilet wastes water and it can drive up your water bill costs significantly. To avoid this, you should get a running toilet fixed as soon as you can.

Signs Your Toilet is Running

Many people never notice that their toilet is running, likely because it is not a very visual problem. Here are some ways you can tell you have the problem:

  • Running water noise: Running water is a pleasant trickle sound, that can fade into the background like white noise, which is why many people don’t realize they can hear the toilet run. Stand next to yours and see if you hear even a small trickle.
  • Higher water bills: Is your water bill significantly higher than last month? If so, then it could be because you have a running toilet. Consider whether there is some other reason you might have used more water this month than last.
  • Dye test: You can perform the dye test to see if there is some leakage in your toilet. Add food-safe dye to the tank, or the top of the toilet. Wait a few minutes and see if the color of water in the bowl has changed. If so, you have a leak.