What To Do If Your Toilet Keeps Running

If your toilet keeps running, don’t fret, because there is a solution to the problem, no matter the cause. Everyone in the house needs to use the toilet regularly. So when it isn’t working, it can be disheartening. 

toilet keeps running

One of the most common problems for a toilet is when the water won’t stop running. Because when this happens it wastes a lot of water and can be annoying to listen to. So here’s what you can do to fix this problem.

How To Tell If Your Toilet Keeps Running

how to repair a toilet

If your toilet is constantly running, you may be at your wit’s end. But if you aren’t accustomed to being responsible for your own toilet, then you may need help with learning how to tell if the toilet won’t stop running. 

The worst part is that your toilet is wasting so much water, which isn’t eco-friendly or energy-efficient. If you can hear water running all of the time, this is the easiest way to see if water is always running. 

But if you can’t, but still suspect a problem, then take a look at the toilet. Is the water running in the bowl or in the back of the toilet? These can be two different problems that need to be addressed separately. 

Why My Toilet Keeps Running

How-To Replace A Toilet Fill Valve

Although you can fix your toilet without knowing why it keeps running, it can be helpful to learn what you can so you can prevent it from happening in the future. Here are the top three reasons the toilet may be running.

Loose Flapper Chain

The first thing you want to do is take a look at the back of the toilet and make sure that the flush lever and the rubber flapper are both connected to the chain. If it becomes loose, the toilet may be running excessively. 

Now, shake the flush lever and see if the slack is good. If it feels too tight, then water will continue to leak into the bowl. But if it is too loose, the chain won’t open the flapper when the lever is pushed.

Related: What are the Different Types of Toilets? How To Choose Them

Flapper Is Broken

It could be possible that the flapper is completely broken. So if the flapper does not seal the drain properly then water can leak. And it may not seal the drain if it is dirty with built-on gunk. This is common logic.

You need to unhook it completely to clean it or replace it. Then you can replace it and ensure that the toilet flushes properly. If the toilet doesn’t flush properly, then this wasn’t your problem to begin with.

Something Is Askew 

Sometimes, the float is set too low which will create a weak flush, but what’s a bigger problem is if it is set too high. In this case, the toilet will run because the water spills into the overflow tube, wasting excess water.

There should be a float mark where the float should go but if there isn’t then you can measure about 1 inch down on the overflow tube and make your own mark. If the water goes over the mark when you flush, the float is too high. 

What To Do If your Toilet Keeps Running

What To Do If your Toilet Keeps Running

If your toilet won’t stop running there are a few things that you can do. However, we’ll get into DIY steps later. Because the obvious choice is to call a plumber. A professional plumber deals with this problem every day. 

On average, it will cost from $100 t0 $300 to have a professional plumber stop your toilet from running. This may seem excessive but they will take care of any and all problem while they are there so it is usually worth it.

DIY Method When The Toilet Keeps Running

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While hiring a professional works best, this method can get rid of any running toilet problems 95% of the time, so you might as well give it a try. This works on any toilet, no matter how old or how new it is.

Step 1: Check The Fill Tube

Now, you need to get to the back of the toilet. To remove the tank lid and find the fill tube. You will recognize it as a small tube that is connected to the fill valve and the toilet overflow tube. This is an important piece.

When the toilet refills, this tube supplies the toilet with enough water to refill the bowl after flushing. If there is a problem with this tube, then the bowl won’t fill and the draining will be faulty.  

So, reattach the fill tube if it is loose and push it securely onto the fill valve. It should be about one niche above the rim of the overflow tube. Flush the toilet while the back is open to make sure everything is working.

Related: The Best Smart Toilets For a Truly Modern Home

Step 2: Adjust The Fill Height 

We talked about this earlier but have to bring it up again because it is so important. The water level in the tank is controlled by a float. This float can be set too high and cause overflows which result in a running toilet.

Again, look for the fill level mark on the inside back of the tank. Flush the toilet and see if the water reaches the mark but doesn’t go over it. If not and the toilet keeps running, adjust the toilet tank float.

If you can’t adjust it you may need to buy a replacement fill valve. It takes ten to twenty minutes to change. Just make sure that you shut the water off before trying to change it and place a bucket underneath the valve. 

Step 3: Adjust The Flapper Chain

This is another important piece of information that we just have to mention again. Make sure that the chain isn’t too short or too long by slowly trying to flush the toilet while the back is open and visible.

If it is too long, the toilet will hardly flush and may even become loose, causing the water to leak. But if it is too short, the water may run too because it is being held up the entire time it is attached.

Adjust it so that it feels right and is only open for as long as needed to flush the toilet properly. Cut off any excess chain to keep it from getting tangled in anything else.

Step 4: Replace the Flapper

If you’re tried all of these and the toilet is still running, you can replace the flapper. This is easy to do and inexpensive as well. You can even upgrade your flapper if you prefer a different look for your toilet.

Turn off the water supply and remove the old flapper. Then take it to the hardware store and ask them what your options to replace it are. Double-check with them that the one you choose works for your toilet. 

If all else fails, you can usually get a universal flapper online. Ask an associate if the one you are buying online will work for your purpose. When you get it, you can read the instructions to attach it to your toilet. 

After you put it on, you can turn the water supply back on and test it out! If this doesn’t work then you definitely need to call a plumber. 

What To Do When The Toilet Keeps Running

How To Stop A Toilet From Running

Now the best way to combat your toilet that keeps running is to prevent it from running in the first place. So here are a few things you can do to ensure that your toilet doesn’t face many problems in the future.

Keep It Updated

It’s important to not keep the same toilet for decades. It can be unsanitary to do so and can cause a lot of problems that would have saved you money had you not had to face them. So replace your toilet every couple of decades. 

While you don’t need to replace it every five years, you do need to replace it about every 15-30 years. And if you move to a new house, always replace the toilet. You want to get your own toilet installed, always. 

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Do Maintenance 

Check the back of your toilet about once a month or so. If you notice anything amiss try to take care of it early on. If the toilet is running all of the time and it isn’t out of hand yet, this is a good time to repair it.

While hiring a plumber to check it every month is excessive, it wouldn’t hurt to have him come once a year or so to check all of the plumbing in the house. That is, if you are especially concerned with future problems.

Be Gentle

Whatever you do, take care of your toilet. Don’t flush anything down the toilet that doesn’t go down the toilet. Don’t be hard on the flusher. Just do what you can to be gentle and you’ll notice fewer problems coming up. 

This can be said for anything in your house. The better you treat it the longer it will last. So take this into account at all times!