How to Fix a Running Toilet

How to fix a running toilet

A running toilet can stop your flush from working properly, waste water, and keep you up at night with the constant trickling sound. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to do some initial DIY fixes on your running toilet. If you have any doubts, or you experience a sewage backflow or flooding, call your local plumber, Magnificent Plumbing as soon as possible for expert advice.

As always, turn the water supply to the toilet off via the outlet on the wall behind the toilet tank, before you start to investigate the issue.

Flapper Isn’t Sealing

A running toilet is usually caused by issues within the tank, so it’s important to look inside when diagnosing a running toilet. Lift off the tank lid and set aside. The water in the tank is clean so it’s fine to put your hands inside to work and wash them when done.

The rubber flapper is the seal that holds water in the tank and allows it to flow into the bowl when the flash is pressed. Over time the flapper can become warped, dirty, or broken, and no longer provides a full seal. To look at the flapper, first repeatedly flush your toilet to remove all water from the tank. You can then unhook the flapper from the base of the tank and pull it up to get a closer look. Inspect the flapper for any discoloration, damage, or build-up, and see if you can clean it to restore its function. The flapper can be easily replaced if it is damaged or cannot be cleaned.


Plumber working on a running toilet

Fill Valve is Leaking

A leaking fill valve can cause your tank to constantly overflow so the water runs into the bowl. Lift the float while the tank is filling to see if the water stops. You can adjust the float arm to ensure that the water stops filling when it reaches between 1/2 to 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If the fill valve continues to leak you can simply replace it to stop your toilet running.

Float Arm Isn’t Positioned Correctly

An incorrectly positioned float can also cause the water to continue to fill the tank after it’s full, contributing to overflow. Look inside the tank while flushing the toilet and observe at what point the water rises to before the tank stops filling. If the water continually rises above the overflow pipe your float may be positioned too high. One of the easiest ways to correct this is to bend the rod connecting the float to the pump slightly lower so it signals the pump to turn off sooner. If you are unable to adjust the float level yourself, call a plumber to provide their expert service and tools.

Problems with the Chain

The flush chain is connected to the flush lever and the flapper. If the chain is too short it will constantly pull up on the flapper allowing water to trickle into the bowl. If the chain is too long it might stop the flapper from closing properly and sealing the water in the tank. Check the length of the chain by jiggling the flush lever and watching the chain between the lever and the flapper. You can easily replace the chain with any aluminum ball chain or another small chain that is the appropriate length.

A constantly running toilet can be irritating but it’s easy to provide some DIY fixes to correct the problem. If these fixes don’t work, there could be a more significant issue.

Call your local plumber, Magnificent Plumbing for immediate advice and assistance to fully correct your running toilet.

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