Fortunately, a running toilet is a fairly common plumbing problem that is 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 go out and replace your toilet unnecessarily, let's get started!
It might be time 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.
Try adjusting your flapper chain.
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 its sealed position, leaving you with the same problem we mentioned in the previous section: a running toilet.
There may be 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 far-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 sometimes 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 — some of the most common causes of running toilets, explained! 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 to become a member of 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.