Easily Fix Your Running Toilet Problem With A Plastic Straw

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At some point, you've probably looked up from a mundane task and heard the gentle, trickling sounds of a running toilet. Inevitably, this discovery leads to a dusty and annoyed disassembly of the heavy lid from atop your porcelain throne only to find a faulty flapper valve— or for those of us without the engineering knowledge of how a toilet works — the flappy, round rubber thing that closes over the hole in the tank. Sometimes though, the small metal chain that attaches it to the flapper valve can also become disconnected, kinked, or worn, preventing the valve from closing properly. When any of these issues occur, water will leak from the tank into the bowl, precipitating the constant sound of running water. In a pinch, running to the hardware store to pick up a replacement or hopping on Amazon to order a new one won't solve the problem at hand. Fortunately, if your chain is the problem, then all you need is a plastic straw for a quick remedy that will have your toilet flushing in no time.

Using a straw to fix a kinked toilet chain is a super simple solution using a product you probably already have at home. A kinked chain is likely to get wrapped up again and utilizing a straw will help to realign the links, allowing the flapper valve to close properly, ultimately preventing your toilet from running. Avoid calling a plumber and racking up a bill while simultaneously saving a turtle!

How to fix your running toilet with a straw

To fix your running toilet with this straw hack, all you will need is a sturdy straw and a pair of scissors. Finish slurping down your Dunkies or Starbucks and upcycle that straw by using it to straighten the chain in your toilet in under five minutes. To begin, shut off the water supply to your toilet by turning the shut-off valve behind the toilet clockwise. Doing so will prevent any more water from filling the tank while you operate. Carefully remove the toilet lid and place it somewhere sturdy and safe to prevent damaging it. Then look inside your toilet tank. The straw procedure will only work for a chain issue. If your flapper valve is faulty, that will need to be replaced, as a straw will unfortunately not cut it here.

Next, you'll need to carefully remove the chain from the flapper valve and the trip lever it connects to. Lay the chain down next to the straw and trim it so that it's about two-thirds the length of the chain. Then slide the straw over the length of the chain and reattach each end to the proper piece inside the tank. The straw will prevent the chain from bunching or kinking and prohibit your toilet from endlessly running. Switch your water back on by turning the knob counter-clockwise and be sure the tank fills and flushes properly. Then return the lid and proceed with your business!

Cautions for using this method

So this method does feel a bit like slapping a band-aid on a gaping head wound, but it will work temporarily to alleviate your running toilet issues. Ultimately, if the chain in your toilet is kinking or causing issues, it likely needs to be replaced. Fortunately, Amazon Prime offers a set of replacements for only $6.99. Alternatively, your local hardware store will be equipped to handle your toilet needs should you need the replacement immediately. Moreover, the straw solution will not solve a broken chain and should only be employed for a kinked or twisted chain.

Another caution to consider is that tinkering with your toilet's flushing mechanism can alter its functionality. Cutting the straw too short or adjusting the chain improperly may actually interfere with the proper operation of the toilet flapper. As a result, your toilet may encounter incomplete flushes, frequent clogs, or other plumbing problems down the line. If you try this fix, it's best to proceed with care and only make minimal adjustments to the chain.

Finally, be advised that the type of straw you choose to use will determine how long this temporary solution will last. Many straws these days are actually biodegradable— yay turtles! — but that means they may decompose inside your toilet tank, leaving behind a kinking chain and debris that may interfere with the flushing mechanism. Choose a reliable straw, one made of durable plastic or even aluminum, for a longer-lasting solution. You can also use a straw as a quick hack to unclog a drain.