What Should I do About a Toilet That Won’t Stop Running?

When you think of common plumbing problems with your toilet, you may first think of inconvenient clogs or toilets that otherwise won’t flush.

Just as annoying and inconvenient is a toilet that flushes just fine, but won’t stop running. Not only is the sound of the constantly running water a nuisance, but you are also throwing your money away by wasting gallons upon gallons of water.

The good news is that a running toilet is one job that you may very well be able to take care of on your own with a few easy-to-follow DIY tips. Here are some thoughts on how to get started:


Faulty Flapper

The most common culprit behind a running toilet is a defective or broken flapper. FYI, the flapper is the rubber stopper that regulates water flow within the tank when you flush the toilet. Over time, the rubber on the flapper will deteriorate. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for the seal around the flapper to deteriorate as toilet-running-waterwell.

The way to determine if this is the source of the problem couldn’t be easier. Simply press down on the flapper, and if the water stops flowing, you’ve identified the problem.

To fix it, remove the flapper and take it to the hardware store with you so that you are sure to get the right part.

Follow the instructions on the package, and you’ll be good to go! One note- make sure that when you are reattaching the chain to the flapper that you’ve got it at the right length. If it is too long or too short, the toilet won’t flush correctly.

Fill Tube

toilet-diagramIf your flapper seems to be working just fine, then check the fill tube. The fill tube is the small plastic tube that connects the fill valve and the overflow pipe.

The fill tube, with the assistance of the overflow tube, serves to drain water back when the tank overfills. However, if the tube is submerged it won’t work properly.

To fix, cut the tube back and make sure that its end is exposed to the air so that it can drain water when necessary.

Adjust Fill Valve and Fill Height

Another common cause of a running toilet is a faulty fill valve. To fix this, drain the toilet tank. Unscrew the valve, by removing the main water supply line from the exterior of the tank, which will let you completely remove the valve piece and replace with a new one.

If your fill valve is ok, you need to adjust your fill float to the right level. If you have a ball float, bend the rod so that it’s in the right spot; if you have a cup float, pinch the ends and slide it up or down the rod.

If your DIY efforts aren’t solving the problem for you, or if you don’t have time to spare, call in experts for backup. Whether your plumbing problem is big or small, we are here to help! Call K. Hoeler Plumbing and Heating in Boonton, NJ at 973-882-2803.