How To Fix a Running Toilet The Easy Way
What’s that sound coming from the bathroom? Is someone still in the bathroom? Perhaps Taco Tuesday wasn’t such a great idea.
Wait—that’s the sound of water.
You dart into the bathroom to find it empty, less the sound of water running. Frustrated, you can almost see your next water bill. Your toilet keeps running and you need to fix it—and fast.
WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION OF HOW TO FIX A RUNNING TOILET
In this short video, learn about the most common causes of running toilets and how to fix them.
SEE WHY YOUR TOILET IS RUNNING
REMOVE THE LID FROM THE TOILET TANK
And it’s probably smart to put the lid on the floor. The last thing you want is that thing to crash down on your foot.
LOOK AND LISTEN FOR VISIBLE LEAKS
If you hear water but can’t see it, water is probably leaking through the flapper. You’ll find the flapper at the bottom of the tank. When you flush the toilet, the flapper opens.
TRY THE DYE TEST FOR TOILET FLAPPER LEAKS
Drop a leak detector tablet into the tank (find these in the plumbing section at your local hardware store). A few drops of colored food dye will do the trick too. Wait roughly 30 minutes, without flushing, then check the water in the toilet bowl.
If you see colored dye in the toilet bowl, and you haven’t flushed the toilet, there’s a leak.
HOW TO FIX 4 TYPES OF LEAKING TOILET
You can try to fix a running toilet yourself. In most cases, you’ll only need to replace the toilet flapper and maybe the filling mechanism too.
(1) WATER FLOWS FROM THE TANK INTO THE BOWL WITHOUT FLUSHING
You may have a flapper valve leak. This is the rubber valve in the bottom of the tank and a popular cause for a leaking toilet. If the flapper is worn or cracked, you’ll need a new one. Learn how to replace a flapper here.
(2) THERE'S A PUDDLE OF WATER ON THE FLOOR
You may be dealing with leaky fill valves. The fill valve is connected to the tank with a compression fitting with a rubber seal. Leaks happen when the fitting gets loose, or the seal becomes worn or cracked. Click here to learn how to replace this from HomeDepot.com.
(3) THE TOILET HANDLE NEEDS JIGGLING
If the handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running continuously, the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet tank. If you’re still wiggling the handle and nothing is happening, you may need a new handle. You’ll find this at the hardware store too.
(4) WATER IN THE TANK IS TOO HIGH
The water level in the tank should be even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank (approximately ½" below the overflow tube). If the water is too high spilling into the overflow tube, adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.
Regardless of the cause for a toilet that won’t stop running, you’ll want to get to the root cause of it and fast. A leaking toilet is more than just an annoying problem; it can raise your water costs and waste water.