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Ken's Plumbing | Blog

Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on May 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM

ToiletRunning toilets are nothing but trouble! Not only is the sound annoying, but all that extra running water means higher water bills (which is another kind of annoying). 

Fortunately, this is a fairly common plumbing problem so the causes are pretty easy to identify. In this article, we've laid out the four most common causes of running toilets so you can finally eliminate one of life's little annoyances. So before you run out of your house to buy a new toilet and start from scratch, let's get started!

You May Need to Replace Your Flapper

The flapper creates a seal at the top of the flush valve and controls the flow of water from your toilet tank to your toilet bowl. If your flapper is old, it may not be sealing as well and water may be leaking from the tank to the bowl. In this case, the water will run until the float gets low enough to trigger the fill vale to refill the tank, and then the process will start all over again.

You May Need to Adjust Your Flapper Chain

So the flapper, which controls the flow of water, is connected to your toilet handle with a chain. The chain should only be long enough to connect the flapper and the handle, but every now and again a toilet will have a chain that's far too long. If your chain is long enough to get stuck between the flapper and the flush valve, then the flapper cannot properly return to it's sealed position and you run into the same problem we mentioned in the previous section and you're stuck with a running toilet.

You May Have Too Much Water in Your Tank

Your toilet only needs so much water to work, so if the tank is overfilled you'll definitely experience a running toilet. The water in the tank should be about 1 inch below the overflow pipe, but it definitely shouldn't exceed 1/2 inch below the overflow pipe (you can mark this spot with a Sharpie for quick checks in the future). If your water level is too high, just adjust the float to the right position and your run should stop!

You May Have Bad Fill Valves

If you've checked out each of these problems and none of them seem to be the one causing your toilet to run, it's time to check your fill valves. Your fill valve should turn off once the flush is complete, but every now and again something will go awry and the valve will overfill the tank until water is having to drain down the overflow pipe. If this is the case, it's time to call in your trusty plumber (that's us) for a new fill valve!

Well there you have it, these are some of the most common causes of "running toilets." If you need help identifying your exact problem and silencing your toilet for good, or if you have other serious plumbing problems, just give us a call at (864) 242-5511 or click the banner below to schedule service online! You can also sign up for our Diamond Club to be sure your plumbing is getting regular check ups, and that little plumbing problems (like a running toilet) are caught before they turn into big ones.

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Topics: Plumbing, Bathroom, Toilets