Running toilets can be a major annoyance as well as a massive waste of water. In fact, some larger running toilets can leak over 1 gallon of water per hour. If you leave this issue to escalate for too long, you could see a spike in your water bill. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to find a solution for a running toilet. Let’s take a look at what you can do to fix the issue before it takes a toll on your wallet and home. 


4 REASONS WHY YOUR TOILET MIGHT BE RUNNING 

Before we figure out how to fix a running toilet, let’s get to the bottom of what could be the root cause. There are four main reasons why a leak might appear. If you notice that your toilet is constantly running, it could be due to one of the following problems.


FLAPPER LEAK 

Running toilets are often associated with old flappers that need to be replaced. Over time, the flapper will wear down and lose its ability to seal properly. This can allow for water to stream constantly from the tank into the toilet bowl. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace the flapper.


FLOAT HEIGHT

A lot of running toilets are caused by an issue with the float height. If the float is too high, there will likely be too much water in the tank. This can cause an excess of water to leak from the tank into the bowl from the overflow tube. Adjusting the height of the float should fix the issue. 


REFILL TUBE LENGTH

If the refill tube is too long, it could be positioned improperly within the overflow tube. This can create an imbalance and the refill tube will pump a constant flow of water into the bowl. In this case, you’ll need to trim the refill tube to the proper length.


LEAKS ON THE FILL VALVE

If all else fails, you’re likely looking at a leaking fill valve. It’s normal for these to break down over time with the need to be replaced. Your running toilet might be caused by an old fill valve if your handle feels loose or you can’t flush at all. 


STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO FIXING A RUNNING TOILET 

You’ll need to take different steps to fix your toilet depending on the issue causing the running toilet. Here are some of the step-by-step methods you can take to fix the problem. 


REPLACE THE FLAPPER 

  1. Turn off the water supply and drain the toilet. You can do this by flushing until the water is gone.
  2. Examine the flapper to see if the seal is worn out. You can find this part at the bottom of the toilet. It typically looks like a stopper attached to a chain.
  3. If it looks like it needs to be replaced, detach it by pulling at the two studs on either side of the flapper and remove the flush chain. 
  4. Attach a new flapper using the studs to secure it in place. 
  5. Turn on the water supply and test out the toilet to see if the leak is still occurring. 


ADJUST FLOAT HEIGHT

  1. Locate the float in the toilet tank. It will sometimes look like a balloon-shaped ball floating in the water. It’s attached to the float arm which meets with the fill valve. 
  2. Loosen or tighten the screw attached to the arm to lower the arm to the proper height. 
  3. If the float is a column, use the screw or clip to loosen it. Push down on the float and tighten the braces again. 
  4. Test the toilet to see if it’s still running.


SHORTEN THE REFILL TUBE 

  1. Take a look at the refill tube inside of the overflow tube. Check to see if it’s underwater. 
  2. If so, cut it back until it rests above the waterline. 
  3. Evaluate if that fixes the issue. 


CHECK FOR LEAKS ON THE FILL VALVE 

  1. Turn off the water supply and unscrew the line.  
  2. Drain the toilet. Place a bucket under the fill valve mounting nut to catch any water left behind. 
  3. Remove the mounting nut underneath the tank then, remove the fill valve component. 
  4. Insert new fill valve in its place and screw in the mounting nut. Attach the new float to the float arm. 
  5. Bend or cut the refill tube to size so the tip fits in the overflow tube correctly. 
  6. Resecure the water supply line and test out the toilet.  


NEED PROFESSIONAL PLUMBING HELP? 

Can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with your running toilet? Call in the professionals for backup! To the T Plumbing and Heating is Thornton, Colorado’s premier business for all things plumbing. We are your go-to team for issues big or small. If you’re in need of another set of eyes on your running toilet or any other plumbing issues, give us a call!