How to Stop a Running Toilet

A running toilet usually doesn’t mean a serious plumbing problem, but it sure is annoying. Not to mention, a continuously running toilet can cost the average homeowner $1,000 more a year in water costs (on top of wasting 6,000 gallons of water each month).

Luckily, all is not lost. Learn the three common causes toilets run, and how to easily fix your running toilet here.

The Chain

Open the back of the toilet tank, and locate the chain. This chain should come off a metal arm in the toilet tank. Its job is to raise and lower the flapper at the bottom of the toilet tank, which controls whether the water in your toilet tank is flushing or not.

Sometimes the chain can become wrapped.

See if the chain on the flap at the bottom is caught or wrapped around the metal arm… (Sometimes cheap toilets will do this) At the bottom of the chain, there is a small metal hook. This hook can sometimes come undone. Normally, the hook should attach the chain to the flapper at the bottom. Sometimes the chain is too long or too short. If it’s too short, you’ll see the bottom flapper won’t lay flat even when the chain is fully extended. If it can’t form a seal, you’ll have a constantly running toilet on your hands! If it’s too long, sometimes the chain will get caught underneath of the edge of the flapper, again preventing it from making a seal. If the problem is the chain length, you can remove the hook and attach it to another link on the chain to easily adjust the length.

The Flapper

Is water leaking through the flapper? Sometimes the rubber plug inside of the toilet tank loses its seal as it’s used. Unsnap the flapper inside of your toilet, it should just wrap around the PVC pipe-looking overflow tube. You should be able to pull it right off, then take it to the hardware store to buy the closest looking replacement. According to Family Handyman, you should also grab a “universal” replacement flapper! Do not get the “adjustable” type of flapper, unless your toilet originally had an “adjustable” one installed. Pick the closest looking match (it’s okay if you’re not sure), and the “universal” flapper.

The Tank

When the flapper isn’t the problem with your running toilet, the second most common cause is the water level inside of the tank. When the water level is too high, water will constantly fill into the overflow tube and cause a constant running sound. Open the back of your toilet tank, and see if water is going into the overflow tube when the tank is full.

What kind of float are you dealing with? A float ball fill valve looks almost like a perfume sprayer, or a horn on a bike. There is a rubber ball at the end of a metal arm. The other type of float is a float cup fill valve. Each float cup fill valve looks a little bit different, but the float cup fill valve is the almost looks like a “water filter” wrapped around the column across from the overflow pipe.

Locate your fill valve, get pliers and adjust the screw at the connecting joint of the valve arm. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lower the water level. Then, flush the toilet to let the water in the tank refill. You want the water to be around 1-1.5 inches below the top of the overflow tube. If it’s too high, keep turning the screw in quarter turns.

Is your toilet still running even after trying these 3 steps? The next thing to do would be to replace the fill valve. This is something that most non-plumbers can do themselves, but it can be very time-consuming, especially if you haven’t done it before. It involves disconnecting the water supply line completely and removing the tank to even access the fill valve.

Plumbing Services In Clearwater, Florida

When you’d rather leave plumbing repairs to the professionals, Climate Design is here. We offer quality plumbing services in the Clearwater area and beyond. Call Climate Design at (888) 572-7245 or contact us online to repair a more serious running toilet problem.

Contact Us Today!