How to Fix a Running Toilet

One of the most common household problems homeowners have is the issue of a constantly running toilet. A continuously running toilet wastes gallons of water, leading to a negative environmental impact as well as spending money out of your pocket. At Perry Homes, we want to help you keep your home running in an optimal manner. Presented below is a guide on how you can easily fix a running toilet.

Check The Flapper

The most common reason a toilet will continually run is because the flapper needs to be fixed or replaced, so the first step to fixing a running toilet is to check the flapper. The flapper is a round piece of rubber that is supposed to fit snugly in a hole in the bottom of the tank, stopping water from draining from the tank to the bowl. When you flush your toilet, a chain pulls the flapper out of the hole so fresh water can fill the bowl. If you cannot find the flapper or other parts of the toilet, check out these informative diagrams.

The first step to checking the toilet flapper is to turn the water to the toilet off and drain the toilet bowl by flushing. Open the toilet tank lid and look inside to locate the flapper and its connected chain to see if it is the correct length. When the flapper chain is too short, it will remove the flapper from the valve when it should not, leaving a never-ending stream of draining water. This issue can be addressed by removing the hook attached to the chain and moving it up one or two links until the chain is longer. Conversely, a flapper chain that is too long may get caught under the flapper when the toilet is flushed and prevent it from sealing. You can fix this issue by using a pair of wire cutters to trim a few links from the top of the chain and then reattaching the hook to the new top link before re-attaching it to the flush lever.

If the chain is not an issue, your flapper itself may be the problem. Remove the flapper and inspect it for mineral deposits, discoloration, disintegration, or warping. If the flapper has mineral deposits, this could be preventing a seal from forming when the toilet is flushed and keep the toilet running. To clean a dirty flapper, soak it in a bowl with vinegar for thirty minutes. After the thirty minutes, scrub the rubber with an old toothbrush to uproot the buildup and dirt. If you have cleaned the flapper and your toilet is still running, you may need to replace the flapper altogether. If this is the case, take your old flapper to the hardware store and find one with the same style and dimensions. Attach the new flapper by connecting the hooks on the side to the pins on the overflow pipe. Turn the water back on and test the flapper to be sure that it is functioning the way it is supposed to and that it does not leave the toilet running.

Adjust the Water Level

If the flapper in your toilet is in full working order and the toilet is still running, check the water level of your tank. If the water level is too high, a constant stream of water will be draining into the overflow pipe. It is essential that this problem is addressed as soon as it is noticed so that water from the tank does not spill onto the floor if the toilet gets clogged.

Take a look at the overflow pipe when the tank is full and check to see if water is continuously draining into the pipe. If this is your issue, you can adjust the water level by lowering the float. Water enters the toilet tank through a fill valve housing the float that rises or lowers with the water level. The float height is what allows the fill valve to shut off when the tank is full. Your fill valve will have a screw attaching it to the float arm, adjusting the height of the float. Flush the toilet to drain and let the tank refill, then check your water level. Your water level should be one to one and a half inches below the top of the overflow pipe. Adjust the scores by quarter turns until the water level is where it should be.

Replace Your Fill or Flush Valve

Sometimes, your fill valve is unable to be adjusted. In this case, you will need to purchase a new one. The first step to replacing the fill valve is to turn off the water and empty your toilet tank. Once you have done this, you will be able to see the water supply line running into the tank from outside the toilet. Disconnect it by unscrewing the lock nut, securing the line in place. You will then be able to see a lock nut attaching the fill valve assembly to the toilet on the outside of the tank. Remove this with an adjustable wrench. Once the lock nut is removed, the old fill valve will be able to be taken from the toilet tank. Take the old fill valve to the hardware store when picking up a new one in order to be sure that you get the right size and style fill valve for your toilet.

Once you have purchased your new fill valve, fit it into the hole in the tank where the water supply line comes in. Tighten the nut to secure it in place. Next, connect the fill pipe to the water output nozzle at the top of the fill valve. Position the fill pipe so it drains into the overflow pipe. Consult the manufacturer’s directions in order to determine the correct float height for your specific model. Finally, turn the water back on and allow your toilet tank to fill with water. Make sure that the water level is correct and the fill pipe is not in the water — you will be able to hear if there is any water still running. Adjust the float height if necessary, and then test the toilet by flushing it and letting it fill with water once more.

At Perry Homes, we want to help you enjoy your home for years to come. Take a look at our blog for more tips on homeownership. Do not forget to check out our new homes for sale in communities throughout Texas.