Is your toilet running? Then you better go catch it! All jokes aside, if you find that after your flush your toilet, the water doesn’t stop running, it needs to be promptly addressed. A running toilet isn’t only noisy; it is also wasting gallons of water. Fortunately, fixing a running toilet is actually a rather simple repair that doesn’t usually require a professional plumbing company.

STEP ONE: Check the fill tube

Lift the tank lid, and identify the fill tube. The fill tube is a small, flexible tube running from the fill valve to the overflow tube. The role of the fill tube is to direct water down the overflow tube to refill the toilet bowl after it has been completely flushed. If the fill tube is in the wrong position, it won’t fill the bowl, future flushes will be weak, and the toilet will run. Reattach the tube and ensure that it is about one inch above the overflow tube. Flush and make sure the water is going down the overflow tube.

STEP TWO: Check the float

If that doesn’t solve the problem, the next step is to check the float. The float controls the water level in the tank. If the float is set too low, the flush will be weak; if it’s too high, the fill valve won’t shut, and the water will run. Look for the fill line, which should be about an inch below the overflow tube. Flush the toilet to see if the water will reach the fill line. If it doesn’t, adjust the float either up or down. How exactly you do this will vary from toilet to toilet, but in newer models, you usually have a screw on the side you can turn to adjust the float. On older toilets, there is a brass rod you must bend to adjust the float. After each adjustment, flush the toilet to see if it will meet the fill line. You should also make sure the water level is below the critical level (CL) marked on the fill valve. If the fill valve will not shut after you have made these adjustments, it is likely defective, and you will need to purchase a replacement, which can be found at hardware stores.

STEP THREE: Adjust the handle and chain

If the flapper chain in the tank is either too short or is tangled up, it the flapper cannot close, and water keeps running into the toilet bowl, causing the fill valve to continually refill the tank. In contrast, if the chain is too long, the flapper cannot open wide enough for a full flush, which will make you have to hold the handle down longer. To address either of these problems, adjust your chain so that it is only slightly slack when the flapper is closed. Put the tank cover back on and ensure that the rod doesn’t strike the lid when you flush. If it does, slightly bend the flush rod and readjust the chain accordingly.

STEP FOUR: Replace your flapper

If none of the above works, it is likely that your flapper is worn out and needs to be replaced. To do this, turn off the water and remove your flapper. Take this with you to the hardware store to ensure that you get the right kind. Try to find the closest to an exact match you can. You can also purchase universal flappers if you cannot find a close enough match, but avoid adjustable styles unless your old flapper is adjustable. Place your new flapper in your toilet, and make sure it opens and closes well. If you flush and find that the water still runs, you have install the wrong flapper, and you need one with a better seal. If you cannot find the right flapper, you may need to replace the overflow tube as well.

A running toilet may be a nuisance, but it is a simple fix. If you find that none of these DIY options work, give us a call. Our plumbing company can help identify the underlying issue and repair your toilet. Contact us today!