Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.
It's 2 a.m. and your toilet decides it's not going to stop running. It's not that it stops and then runs a little like the tank is refilling a bit, but it's full-on post-flush running without a break. That's not good.
But is it an emergency? This is more difficult to judge because you could take a number of actions based on how many toilets you have in your home. Of course, if there is an obvious leak with water actively spilling from the tank or bowl onto the floor, and that's your only toilet, you need to shut off the water and call an emergency plumber. In other situations, your reaction may be different.
No Water Overflow, No Drips, Nothing Outside the Toilet, or a Minor, Slow Leak
What if the toilet is running, but there are no leaks, no drips, nothing is overflowing and the water level in the bowl looks steady? Or, what if there is a tiny, slow drip from, say, a gasket? For sleep's sake, you can turn off the water at the valve on the wall below the toilet. Give the tank a few minutes to clear out; if you can, then take the top off the tank and watch what the water does. When you need to use the toilet, you can turn the water on again and let the tank fill and then turn off the water when you're done. In the morning, you can call a plumber. Do place rags under the leak to catch any residual moisture that works its way out; there will still be some water dripping down the insides of the tank after you empty it.
If it turns out the valve is broken and doesn't stop water from entering the tank, then a call to an emergency plumber is justified. The shutoff valve is your safety valve, and if that's broken, you won't be able to stop any increased flow (should the problem get worse) without turning off water to the whole house.
Rising Water Levels
Let's say there's no leak or a very tiny leak, but you see the water level in the tank rising. Turn off the water going to the toilet immediately. Place rags around the toilet just in case it overflows. If the water level was rising very slowly, chances are the tank and bowl will eventually empty out (a slow rise indicates that water can still drain from the bowl, so eventually you'll just run out of water in the toilet). If this is your only toilet, you may want to call to see if there are price differences between calling an emergency plumber overnight and having one show up during the day.
If it's been rising noticeably, as if there were a clog in the drain of the toilet (which would be a separate problem from the one making the tank leak into the bowl, but you can have both problems at once), again turn off the water at the valve and monitor the water in the bowl. Be sure you have enough rags around the toilet to catch the overflow.
Remember that everything is fixable with a toilet. At worst, you may have to replace the fixtures inside the tank (or maybe the toilet itself, if all the gaskets are old), but everything can be solved. An emergency plumber can help you at those times when you just can't wait for the next business day to get the fixture working again.