How to Stop a Running Toilet
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How to Stop a Running Toilet

Uh oh – is your toilet still running? Does it keep running, hours after the last person flushed? Do you constantly hear water running, or cycling on and off? Talk about a pesky problem!

If your toilet is constantly running, you should get it fixed as soon as possible. This problem is not only annoying, but also wasteful. By letting your toilet continue to run, you’re wasting hundreds of gallons of water – and increasing your water bill in the process. This isn’t exactly the most eco-conscious thing in the world! When you take the time to fix your toilet, you’ll save both money and water. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the stress of worrying about this fixture anymore. The good news is that a running toilet is usually a quick and easy fix. It’s always an excellent idea to call a plumbing professional. You can trust a professional technician to restore your toilet to 100% functioning. However, you can also always attempt to fix the problem yourself.

If you’re going to try to fix the issue on your own (who doesn’t love a little DIY toilet project?), it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. After all, if you want to successfully fix the problem, you need to know what’s causing the issue. You should become familiar with the basic mechanics of your toilet. You’ll need to determine what type of toilet mechanism you have. You should know that all toilets work on gravity. When you push your toilet’s lever down, it lifts up a rubber flapper. This allows water to run, pulled by gravity, out of the tank and into the bowl. The tank water then rises.

Keep in mind that most hardware stores carry any parts you’ll need to fix a running toilet. There are also tons of helpful YouTube videos on the web. It’s important to do your research and prepare yourself before you attempt your own toilet repairs. But above all, don’t panic! If you take things step-by-step, you should be able to fix your running toilet. After all, your problems could be worse — a running toilet is highly preferable, to, say, a clogged toilet.

Here are some common issues that tend to be the culprit behind a pesky running toilet:

Broken, Dirty, or Dry Flapper

 Remember, the flapper is the part of your toilet that is connected to the flush lever. This is what opens and closes when you flush your toilet. Sometimes, over time, this part of your toilet can break or warp. Since this is probably one of the most common reasons behind constantly running toilets, you should check the flapper as soon as you can.

To do this, first, flush the toilet. All the water should drain outside of your tank. Then, simply unhook the flapper from your tank and pull it to the surface. Inspect it for problems. If your flapper is broken or warped in some way, you’ll likely need to replace it. If it looks intact, check to see if there’s any mineral buildup. In this case, you can simply clean the flapper. You can let it soak in a bowl of vinegar for around thirty minutes. Then, after the 30 minutes is up, scrub the rubber (an old toothbrush works great for this!) to get rid of any buildup. Take the time to thoroughly clean your flapper, leaving no trace of any debris. Once the flapper is clean, simply put it back inside your toilet. Turn the water back on, let the tank fill back up with water, and listen carefully to see if the toilet continues to run.

If your flapper is cracked or warped, on the other hand, you should replace it. To do this you’ll need to remove the flapper and take it to your local hardware store. That way, you can ensure that you get an exact match. You could easily get overwhelmed by the selection of flappers out there! Even if you bring your old flapper, you may be unable to find an exact match – that’s okay. After all, if it’s been 10 to 15 years since you last changed the flapper, the stores may not carry your exact type anymore. In this case, simply get the closest match that you can find.

Water Level

 If your flapper looks okay, you’ll want to check the water level. After flapper issues, this is the most common reasons for a toilet to continue to run. When the water level in your toilet is too high, then water will continue to drain into your overflow tube. To scope out your water level, it’s a good idea to check your overflow tube. If you notice that water is constantly draining into the tube, the water level is too high. You simply need to adjust it. You’ll also need to determine what type of float you have. What do we mean by “float”? Well, water comes in your toilet’s tank via a fill valve. This valve has a floating object on it; this float rises or lowers according to the water level. This also brings us to our next common cause of toilet running problems: the fill valve.

The Fill Valve

You may simply need to replace your toilet’s fill valve. If your water level is fine and your flapper does not need to be cleaned or replaced, the fill valve is the next-most-likely culprit. To replace your fill valve, you’ll need to first turn off the water to the toilet, and then flush the toilet. Don’t forget this step! It’s important. Once you’ve flushed the toilet, you can use a sponge or scrub brush to absorb the water that’s collected. Keep doing this until there is virtually no water left inside the tank. Then, you should disconnect the water supply line and remove the original fill valve. Install the new valve, reconnect the water, and you should be back in business!

The Chain

Your toilet’s chain could also cause your toilet to continue running. This is a very common cause of toilet issues. Check the chain connection between the flush lever and the flapper. If the chain constantly pulls on the flapper, then it is likely too short. If the flapper is unable to close, on the other hand, the chain is too long. In either case, you’ll simply need to replace the chain. This should fix the problem immediately!

These are the four most common reasons that toilets continue to run. In any of these cases, you can probably fix the problem on your own. You can certainly at least give home repairs a try before you get professional help. If you experience any issues during your repair attempts, simply call a plumbing pro. However you choose to approach the problem, do not let it go unchecked — unless you want to incur high water bills and waste buckets of water. Keep in mind that, in the event of a leak (which is another reason your toilet may be running), it’s always best to call in a pro.

Contact the Plumbing Experts at Robert B. Payne Today

Do you have further questions about how to stop a running toilet? Would you like to speak to a professional about the problem? If so, it’s time to contact Robert B. Payne at 540-373-5876. Here at Robert B. Payne our team of trained plumbing specialists will happily impart their well-earned wisdom and expertise. The Robert B. Payne team is always more than happy to help answer your questions and offer our assistance. In addition, we offer quality 24/7 emergency assistance and repairs. We will either help you fix the problem or fix it for you ourselves. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

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