Repairing a Running Toilet
By: Danny Lipford
A constantly running toilet is not only annoying but a big waste of water. There are two common reasons a toilet won’t stop running, both of which are easy to fix. Here’s how to go repairing a toilet to keep it from running.
Replace Tank Flapper
If the rubber flapper at the bottom of the toilet tank is warped or damaged, water will seep out around it, causing the toilet to continue to run. To replace a defective flapper:
- Turn off the water to the toilet.
- Flush the toilet.
- Disconnect the chain from the flapper.
- Remove the flapper.
- Replace the flapper.
- Reconnect and adjust the chain to the flapper.
- Turn the water back on.
Adjust Tank Water Level
If water is constantly running into the overflow tube in the toilet tank, the fill valve in the tank needs to be adjusted. To adjust the water level in the tank:
- Turn the screw on top of the fill valve* to adjust the float in the tank so the toilet stops filling approximately 1” below the top of the overflow tube.
- Flush the toilet and check to see that the fill level is correct.
*Note: Some tanks have other methods of adjusting the height of the float.
Watch this video to find out how.
- How to Repair a Toilet (video/article)
- How to Replace a Toilet Flapper Valve (video)
- How to Repair a Running Toilet (video)
A constantly running toilet means that the flapper isn’t sealing correctly or the fill valve is improperly adjusted. If the flapper is warped or damaged, turn off the water supply and empty the tank, then disconnect the flapper from the flush chain and unsnap it from the flush tower. Snap on a new flapper and reconnect the chain before turning back on the water.
If water is constantly running down the overflow tube, the fill valve needs to be adjusted. Turning the adjustment screw on the valve in one direction raises the water level and the other direction lowers it. The ideal level for a toilet tank is about an inch below the top of the overflow tube.