A running toilet may seem like a small annoyance, but it can lead to a bloated bill and lots of wasted water. Fortunately, fixing a running toilet is something you can probably take care of on your own. Here we’ll discuss how to fix four common causes of a running toilet.
Problem 1: Water level is set too high
If the water level is set too high, then water will constantly spill over into the overflow, and the toilet will never stop running.
• Solution: Open the tank. Check to see that water is not spilling into this tube. If it is, you should be able to find an adjustment screw at the base of the float arm that will allow you to adjust the arm lower so that it will shut off the water before it spills into the overflow tube.
Problem 2: Bad flapper
If you have a bad flapper, water will be continuously leaking into the bowl, causing the water level to lower. A constantly low water level will cause the fill valve to continuously try to refill the tank.
• Solution: Open the tank and examine the flapper. If it is warped or old, it needs to be replaced. To replace the flapper, simply pull it off or unsnap it from its location. Take this with you to the hardware store to make sure you get a good replacement. Then simply put the new one where the old one was!
Problem 3: Chain is too taught
Water can escape past even a good flapper if the chain is too taught, therefore holding it slightly open.
• Solution: Just move the chain hook up a couple links to give the chain a little more slack. This will allow the flapper to seal properly and the tank can then fill to the proper level, preventing your toilet from continuously running.
Problem 4: Fill valve needs to be replaced
If the water level, flapper, and chain seem to be in good working order, then the fill valve is likely the problem.
• Solution: To replace a fill valve, first shut off the water supply to the toilet and place a bucket under the water hose. Flush the toilet to remove most of the water, and then unscrew the water line from the bottom of the tank (make sure to keep that bucket below to catch the remaining water in the tank). Unscrew the nut that holds the fill valve in place, and replace the fill valve with a new one.
A running toilet is an easy thing to fix. A leaking toilet, on the other hand, is a much more serious matter. If there is water pooling around the base of the toilet, if you smell sewer gas, or find that your finished floor is coming up around the base of the toilet or the floor feels spongy, you likely have a leak and it’s best to call in a plumber right away.