Running toilet? Here’s how to fix it
Have you recently found your frequent toilet running randomly? Believe it or not but a running toilet can drip water, hundreds of gallons actually, so if you’ve spotted a running toilet, it’s best to address this issue as quickly as possible to avoid your bill from skyrocketing.
The good news? You can probably identify the problem area and fix it yourself, saving maintenance costs alongside an eye-opening water bill. All you need is pliers and a hacksaw, and possibly a new fill valve if the current one’s faulty.
So let’s give you the running toilet fix that’ll save you the agony of drippy noises at night!
Running Toilet Fixes
Let’s explore what measures are required, and make sure to follow order with the steps we divide the above fixes into or skip the questions below to figure out the problem area first to save some time on the other steps. You can also live chat a plumber to get further guidance at every step of fixing your running toilet!
Video Chat with Chris Papulis for help with your running toilet. Here is an example of how Chris helped a Video Chat a Pro customer with their toilet.
1. Check and tend to the flapper
The flapper is a round rubber seal component that holds the tank water from going down into the bowl. When the toilet is flushed, the flapper is pulled up via chains to release fresh water into the toilet bowl. Flappers issues are the most common when it comes to a running toilet.
Before you inspect the flapper, turn off the water connection as well as drain any water in the toilet tank by flushing to clear the space to be able to tend to the flapper.
Remove the toilet lid by holding firmly on either of the ends and lift. Place it on a towel or a soft surface since toilet lids are made of heavy ceramic which can scratch easily.
Check the flapper’s chain length. A short chain pulls up on the valve at the wrong time and causes constant drainage. In this case, remove the hook that connects the chain to the flush lever and move it up by 1 or 2 links until the tension in the chain is lowered. Get the hook connected back to the flush lever.
A longer chain prevents a seal from getting caught underneath the flapper. To resolve this, trim a few links through a pair of wire cutters from the top of the chain. Reconnect the hook to the link on top and attach it back to the flush lever.
Finally, check the flapper for any problems. Either the flapper will have mineral build-ups or wear-related issues like disintegration, warping, etc.
First, unhook the sides of the flapper from the pins underneath the overflow tubes (the open tube located in the middle)
Mineral and dirt deposits can be cleaned using vinegar and a tutorial on YouTube, while for wear-related damage, getting a new flapper is best.
2. Regular the water level
If the water level in the tank is too high, there’ll be constant drainage into the overflow tube. With the tank full and the water running, observe the overflow tube in the center of the tank connecting the tank and the toilet bowl to see if the water keeps draining into it.
If it is, just lower the float to adjust the water level.
Floats come in two categories so if you’re dealing with a rubber-shaped ball float that has a long arm connected to the fill valve, shake the float to feel if there’s any water inside, in which case, you’ll have to replace it but if it’s not, then you can lower it by the following instructions:
Find the screw above the fill valve connecting the float arm to it. Give the screw a quarter turn counterclockwise using a screwdriver to lower the float.
The exact same applies to a cup float.
Now, flush and let the water refill the tank. The water level should ideally be around an inch and a half (2.5 - 3.8 cm) below the level of the overflow tube. Keep adjusting the screw in quarter turns to hit the right water level.
3. Replace the fill valve
For this, your tank has to be empty so:
Flush the toilet, disconnect the water supply, and use a sponge to completely soak and remove any water inside the tank.
To disconnect the water supply to the tank, unscrew the lock nut that secures the waterline in place, counterclockwise using pliers.
Detach the old fill valve by removing the lock nut connecting the fill valve assembly to the tank on the outside. Use a wrench(adjustable) to turn the lock nut anticlockwise. Now pull the whole fill valve assembly out of the tank.
Take the old set to the hardware store to buy the replacement ensuring to get the right specifications. Although a universal fill valve will do just fine.
Position the new fill valve in the same spot in the tank. Fit it into the hole of the water supply line coming in. Hook the water supply line up. Tighten the nut back by turning it clockwise. Once it’s tightened, use a pair of pliers to give the nut another quarter turn.
Attach the fill tube by connecting it to the water outlet nozzle above the fill valve. Place the fill tube so it drains into the overflow tube. In case of a clip on the overflow tube, connect it to the clip instead so it stays in place.
Adjust the float by first checking the manufacturer’s directions to work out the right float height per fill valve you’ve purchased. Measure the length of the tank and turn the adjustment screw to adjust the fill valve to the correct height.
NEED HELP? ASK A PLUMBER!
Additional Queries Answered
Why is my toilet making a whistling sound when flushing?
If you experience whistling, mechanical or fog horn noises from your toilet, all of these are an indication that the valve inside is broken and it’s necessary to replace it.
If you’ve changed the flapper as well as the whole tank ball mechanism, but the water in the tank doesn't reach the tank fill line for flushing, what should you do?
The step you’re missing is the adjustment of the float which will enable the water to fill up to the fill line and you can use the instructions above for that!
Why is the toilet leaking water from the bottom?
With water leaking onto the floor, it’s possible that the wax ring inside is malfunctioning or broken. It ensures the connection of the toilet pipes with the sewer pipes and you need to replace it if there’s a leak from below the toilet.