How to Fix a Running Toilet

Is your toilet running? Better go catch it!

All jokes aside, a running toilet can mean big problems for you and your home. Besides being annoying to listen to all the time, a running toilet can lead to a drastic increase in your water bills. Even though you’re not consciously using any more water than normal, your toilet is using much more than you’d think. You could be wasting gallons and gallons of water each day without even realizing it.

Thankfully, fixing a running toilet is a minor toilet repair issue and can be done very easily. You don’t have to be a handyman or know much about toilets to fix a running toilet on your own. In most cases, you won’t need to use any tools or contact an expert to get your toilet back to normal.

Follow these simple steps to get rid of that annoying sound and to keep your water bills low.

Toilet cistern in a domestic bathroom showing the float and other essential parts ** Note: Shallow depth of fieldStep 1: Identify the different parts of your toilet.

Open the lid of the tank—the upper part of the toilet with the flush lever attached. You’ll want to identify the following 5 parts of the toilet:

A. Toilet flush lever/Handle
B. Fill Valve—refills the tank whenever it empties
C. Flapper—Blocks the water in the tank from dropping into the bowl
D. Float Ball—Drops and lifts with the water level, telling the fill valve when to stop and go

Now would be a good time to turn off the water connected to the toilet. You’ll find a silver knob on the wall behind your toilet. Tighten the knob to shut off the water supply.

Step 2: Diagnose and fix the problem.

In almost all toilet repair cases, the problem is with one of three parts: the flapper, the chain, or the float ball. Here are the most common causes of a running toilet:

  • The Flapper. Your toilet’s flapper may be dirty, broken, or warped. To check for a problem, you’ll want to flush the toilet first to drain the water from the tank. Then, unhook the flapper and look for any discolorations, breaks, or distortion in the shape of the flapper. If you notice any issues with the flapper, replacing it is easy and inexpensive.
  • The Chain. There is a chain that connects the flush lever to the flapper. Try playing around with both the lever and the chain. If the chain is too short, it puts too much stress on the flapper. If it’s too long, the flapper may not close properly. To fix a chain that is too long, move the clip down on the chain. To fix a chain that is too short, replace the chain with a shorter one.
  • The Float Ball. The float ball helps control when the tank should stop filling. Flush the toilet a few times to see where the water is stopping. If the tank is filling too high, you can bend the rod that connects the float ball to the pump. This will place the ball lower, which will prevent the tank from filling up too high.

Step 3: If necessary, call a plumber.

If you cannot diagnose or fix the issue yourself, contact a certified plumbing expert near you. A plumber will be able to identify whether the issue is with the toilet or your plumbing system and offer an efficient solution.

Now that you know what to look for and how to perform a simple toilet repair on your own, you can take care of plumbing problems quickly and easily. To learn more about other toilet repair issues or for more information on plumbing, click below.


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