Help! My Toilet Keeps Running

On December 20, 2012, in Ask The Plumber, Toilet Problems, by bull6284
running toilet, clogged toilet, toilet repair

How to fix a running toilet

A toilet that runs continuously or sporadically for no reason wastes a lot of water. It’s also a sign that your toilet needs maintenance or repair. A few simple tricks will help you determine the cause and stop your toilet from running once and for all.

1.         Remove the lid from the tank and check to see if the chain is caught on anything. If so, it could be too long and in need of adjustment. The flapper at the bottom of the tank might also be warped or misaligned, which could signify that there is debris or an obstacle preventing it from sealing or that it needs to be replaced.  See my previous post for a diagram of the inside of a toilet. 

2.         Check the water level. When the tank is full, it should come to the water line or about an inch below the top of the overflow tube. One way to remedy a low water level is to raise the float by bending the float arm upward. On the other hand, if the water level is too high, it will slowly leak into the bowl, resulting in the need to refill. Make sure there are no obstructions to the float and make adjustments as necessary to attain the proper water level.

3.         Check the float. When the toilet is running and filling with water, raise the float with your hand. If the toilet stops running, your float works but may need adjusting, raising or lowering it.  Or your float may be damaged and cracks or holes might be causing it to fill with water. In that case, you need to replace the float.

4.         Check the ball valve and assembly for mineral deposits. Lime is often the culprit that keeps moving parts in the tank from functioning as they should. Descaling and cleaning them can break loose the impediments.

5.         If you’ve tried everything and the toilet continues to run, it might be time to replace your refill valve assembly.

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4 Responses to Help! My Toilet Keeps Running

  1. julia says:

    Hi there, i just recently replaced my flapper as well as my handle and lever arm due to old age. Since then my flapper constantly comes off the stems of the overflow tube with every flush. the new flapper is the same size/style as the previous. any suggestions?
    Thank you.

    • Kenny Bidinger says:

      Make sure the flapper is hooked on correctly and make sure handle is not pulling too hard on chain of flapper.

  2. James Wafula says:

    Thank you so much. I had an issue with my toilet. I could not flush well since the water level was always too low. I though there was a bigger problem so I wanted to call a plumber. I decided to surf the web to see if I could get something and, yes I did. I can across this article. It was so simple; I only had to adjust my float arm and there it was, working perfectly. The way your article explains it encourages one to check it out and many people will realize that some of these things they can easily solve.

  3. For the first time I opened the lid of that toilet tank, thanks to your tell-it-as-it-is article. That was all I needed to open the lid and do the handle jiggle while I watch inside. I saw the chain was not running freely and therefore the stopper was not fitting in well. We it not for your article, I couldn’t have even though that it is something I could handle. I thank you so much.

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