By Monte Leper

Q. We own an Airbnb upstate in an area that has septic tanks and occasionally a limited water supply, especially during droughts, so we turn off the taps between guests using the place. One of the guests complained that a toilet kept running and the plumbing made a high-pitched creaking noise. We hear the trickling sound and the creaking in the pipes, but we couldn’t pinpoint the problem. A handyman came in and stopped the squeaking by adjusting the water pressure, he said. It worked for a short time, but another customer complained about the same thing. Before I have another plumber, for the third time, can you explain why this is happening? It’s frustrating to hear customers complaining or asking for a discount.

A. The first thing I did after reading your question was to go to my own toilet, open the lid and examine the flush mechanism. There are really only a few parts that work, and I know from experience and talking to plumbers over the years that the flapper, the rubber stopper that pops up when you press the lever, deteriorates with the time and must be replaced. The part is usually under $7, so you can get a few at a time to save a trip.
When the flapper doesn’t fall properly onto the ring it sits on, there’s a bad seal, and that’s why you’ll hear the dripping sound. You must empty the water tank by rinsing enough to expose the flapper and seat ring so you can check the ring. If it has deteriorated, it must be removed with care. If you feel resistance, call the plumber, because if you use the tools the wrong way to remove the ring, you could break the ceramic tank, and you’ll go from a $20 repair to a costly toilet replacement. hundreds of dollars.
Part of the squeaking noise is due to the water pressure, and also the type of fill valve, standpipe, and float that lets water into the tank. Generally speaking, the fill valve also fills up with impurities from daily use, and the float that rises as water rises in the tank can become hampered over time. Parts aren’t expensive to replace, and it’s better to have the fill valve replaced than to take the time trying to clean it, trying it out, being frustrated with the water squealing, under pressure , trying to squeeze through the restricted filler tube, only to have to start over.
I wonder though if you used the services of a real licensed plumber, because I’ve never known a plumber who failed potty training, and all the plumbers I know could have told you right away What was the problem. If in doubt, call a professional. Good luck!

© 2022 Monte Leper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to [email protected], with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, Architect.