How To Repair A Toilet That Keeps Running

Is a running toilet driving you crazy? Most problems with the toilet are easy to solve. Fix it yourself with these steps.

Do You Need to Replace the Flapper?

Often, a defective flapper is the troublemaker behind a running toilet problem. When the toilet is flushed, a rubber stopper lifts to release water into the bowl. Over time, the flapper will start to disintegrate, causing water to seep through a once-tight seal. To test its integrity, push down on the flapper. If the water stops, then you know you need to replace the flapper.  When replacing the flapper, first turn the water off the toilet.  Flush the toilet to remove the rest of the water. You will need to buy an identical flapper from a hardware store. Bring your old one inside the store to compare them. When installing the new flapper, remember that a short chain won't allow the flapper to rise fully away from the draining hole while a chain too long won't allow it refill. You may need to use wire cutters to cut the chain to fit.

Is the Fill Tube Immersed in Water?

The fill tube is a small plastic tube that goes from the fill valve or the main assembly in the tank to the overflow pipe, which in turn drains excess water when water levels are too high. If the fill tube is immersed in water, you will need to cut it back so that the tube is over the water level. This will allow the water to drain properly and stop the constant running.

Is The Float Seated Properly?

There are two styles of toilet floats—the cup float and the ball float--but they both perform the same function. When the float is set too high, water levels rise above the overflow pipe and the tank isn't able to drain properly. When adjusting a float, first locate the pinching mechanism that allows it to adjust. Once located, slide the float down the central tube that it sits around.

Does the Fill Valve Need to Be Replaced?

In order to replace your fill valve, first drain the tank. Then free the valve by unscrewing the water supply line and the lock nut, which is outside the tank. When shopping for a new valve, be sure to take the old one with you to ensure that you purchase the correct one. Once home, replace the old valve with the new one and adjust the float to the water level desired.

For more information, or if you would like professional assistance, contact a plumber in your area.