Why Is My Toilet Running?

A broken toilet can be a big problem, especially if your home has only one bathroom. Luckily, most toilet problems are easy to fix. If your toilet is constantly running, these solutions may help you get your toilet back in working order.

Your Toilet: A Quick Tutorial

A toilet may run for many reasons, and the only way to fix the problem is to identify the cause. Knowing the way your toilet works can help.

When you flush your toilet, a chain pulls up the flapper at the bottom of the tank. The flapper is a piece of rubber that seals the hole connecting the tank to the toilet bowl, known as the flush valve. When the flapper lifts up, water rushes from the tank to the bowl.

The fill valve on your toilet tank is connected to a water supply line on one side and a float on the other side. The float is a balloon of air that rests at the top of the water in the tank. When the water is flushed from the tank, the float drops down, thus opening the fill valve, causing the tank to fill with water. When the tank is filled to the desired level, the surface of the water lifts the float and triggers the mechanism that closes the fill valve. This causes the water to stop flowing into the tank.

Reasons the Toilet Might Be Running

So now that you understand the way your toilet functions, let’s talk about the reasons that your toilet might run continuously without stopping.

  1. Excessively long flapper chain. Excess chain can easily get caught in your toilet flapper, preventing your flapper from making a good seal over the flush valve. When this happens, the water will leak from the tank. You can prevent this problem from occurring by using wire cutters to cut off the extra length of chain.
  2. Float level too high. If the float level is too high, the tank will fill and drain continuously. There are different ways to adjust the level of your float in the tank. Many simply require a screw to be turned counter clockwise. If this does not lower the level of your float, you may need to play around until you decide what your float requires in order to be adjusted.
  3. Flapper deterioration. Flappers are made of rubber. After spending many years in your toilet tank, the flapper will become brittle, cracked and hard. This prevents your flapper from forming a proper seal with the flush valve and causes water to leak from the toilet tank to the toilet bowl. This is a common reason that ghost flushes occur. To replace your flapper, turn off the water to the toilet, drain the tank by flushing the toilet, then remove the flapper. Buy a new one that matches the old one from a home improvement center.

If all this doesn’t work, replace the fill valve. Universal replacement fill valves are available for sale at hardware stores and home improvement centers. To replace the entire assembly, follow the instructions that comes with the fill valve.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

At Terry’s Plumbing, we have years of experience helping homeowners with their broken toilets. We also sell replacement toilets! If you’ve tried everything and your toilet continues to run, contact us today for an appointment at 1-877-483-7797.