Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

If your toilet is constantly running, you could be wasting 24 gallons of water per day – plus, the sound of a running toilet can be plenty aggravating! You don’t have to be a plumber to fix a running toilet. Follow these quick and easy tips and give yourself a few minutes to troubleshoot the problem, identify any parts you might need, and make the fix.

Why Won’t the Water Stop Running in My Toilet?

The key to resolving toilet issues is to picture how a toilet works. Water fills up the tank and when flushed, the tank empties, forcing the contents down the drain. The mechanical elements of a toilet are all hidden away in the tank, which is where the magic happens!

In most cases, a running toilet has an issue with the valve assembly. Four main components impact water intake and dispersion:

  • The flow valve, which opens and closes to let fresh water into the tank.
  • The flapper, which is a gasket located on the bottom of the toilet tank. It opens and closes to allow water to flow down into the bowl.
  • The float rod, or float. As the name suggests, it floats up as the water level in the tank increases. At a predetermined height, the float rod will shut the flow valve.
  • The overflow tube, which captures excess water in the tank and directs it to the bowl. Without the overflow tube, there’s a risk of the tank overflowing and making a mess!

Pushing the flush lever opens the flapper with enough force to keep it open until the tank is nearly empty. If your toilet won’t stop running after flushing, one of these three components is most likely to blame.

How to Fix a Running Toilet (Without Calling a Plumber!)

 Toilets aren’t too complicated, but narrowing down the possible causes can be tricky. If your toilet keeps running, follow these troubleshooting tips.

Check the Overflow Tube

If water runs into the overflow tube, the water level in the tank is too high. Alternatively, the overflow tube itself is too short. In most cases, you can tell if the overflow tube is the correct height if there’s no water in the tube and the toilet consistently clears all waste when you flush.

If your toilet is running intermittently or you have to flush multiple times, you may need to fix the overflow tube.

How to Inspect the Overflow Tube

You can inspect the overflow tube by examining the water level in the tank. Remove the tank lid and look for the tube; it will look like a round cup just above the water line. The cup itself is fixed, not floating, so it won’t change as the water level changes.

If there’s no water in the overflow tube, it’s time to inspect the flush valve and float. If water is in the overflow tube, try lowering the water level slightly; tips below.

Check the Float Rod

The float rod is a long rod that starts near the fill valve and has a float ball at its end.

You can adjust the float rod to lower the water level. Look for the screw that connects the float rod to the fill valve; in almost every case, this will be located on the left-hand side of the tank just above the water line. Use a screwdriver to turn the screw a half-turn; wait for a second and watch how much the water lowers. Keep turning in small increments until the water level is below the overflow tube.

Check the Flush Valve

If your toilet is still running, you may need to adjust or replace your flush assembly. The flush valve is one part of the flush assembly, which includes a chain that connects it to the flapper. This connection opens the flapper when you push the flush lever.

First, see if lengthening or shortening the chain resolves the issue. If the chain is too short, it may not allow the flapper to close completely, which makes the toilet run constantly to keep the tank full.

Next, make sure the flapper isn’t dirty, stuck open, or cracked. If some cracks or gaps result in leaks, you may need to replace the flapper. Otherwise, simply rinse it off and remove any debris or mineral buildup.

Check the Fill Valve

The fill valve controls how much water enters the tank after a flush. When it works properly, the fill valve stays open until the float rod tops out. If the fill valve is broken, it may not turn off the water supply immediately, which could be the source of your running toilet.

How to Replace the Toilet Fill Valve

If the fill valve is broken, you’ll need to purchase a compatible replacement and follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet, then flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  2. Remove the broken fill valve by loosening the lock nut at the bottom of the tank.
  3. Install the new fill valve and secure it with the same lock nut. Make sure the nut is tight.
  4. Reconnect the water supply and allow the tank to refill. It’s fixed!

Related: How to Fix a Toilet That Won’t Flush

Fixing a Running Toilet Saves Money – and the Planet!

A leaking or running toilet can waste a gallon of water or more every hour. That can quickly show up on your water bill, not to mention waste thousands of gallons of water per year. Make the fix, save money, and do your part to conserve water.

Make the Switch to Bio Bidet by Bemis

Now that you’re a plumbing expert, upgrade your toilet with a bidet seat or bidet attachment. Or go big and get your household a new luxury standalone bidet! Not only will a quick splash of water get you cleaner, but you’ll also use 75% less toilet paper! Bring sustainability home today; take the Bidet Quiz to find the right model for you!