3 Simple Reasons Why Your Toilet Keeps Running

Toilet Keeps Running

🚽 Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

When a toilet won’t stop running after that last normal flush cycle, most people stare blankly at the toilet tank, not knowing what to do.

What happens next is they wonder what the problem could be and start to jiggle the flush valve to see if that fixes anything, but the toilet water keeps running and never stops.

A toilet running constantly, if left unrepaired, can leak approximately a gallon an hour. 

The stats tell us that’s 26 gallons a day or a whopping 780 gallons a month!  For the most part, staring at it and shaking the flush valve won’t fix anything.

Luckily, there are a few straightforward things you can do to fix your constantly running toilet and reduce your water usage. The first step in troubleshooting any problem is determining the cause and then acting accordingly to stop the running toilet.

πŸ₯ Drum roll, please…

🚽 The 3 Reasons Why Your Toilet Keeps Running:

1. Float Height needs adjusting.

2. Toilet Flapper is leaking and needs replacing.

3. The fill tube needs shortening.

Throwing money into toilet
Let’s try to avoid this…

βš’οΈ Tools and Materials you might need depending on the cause:

  • A set of long rubber gloves
  • A replacement toilet fill valve
  • Specific toilet replacement parts
  • MultiBit Screwdriver
  • Cutting Pliers

This is a DIY article though we strongly advise that you contact your local plumber to inspect the situation.

You shouldn’t let a running toilet keep running, you could be wasting hundreds of gallons a day, running up your water bill.

There could also be other issues with your toilet that may need more in-depth repair and maintenance.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inspect your own toilet and figure out if it’s an easy fix.

So, without further ado, here are some things that you can do yourself to get your running toilet back to its regular operation.

πŸ›‘ Safety First! Make sure you turn off the water supply line first at the shutoff valve (or cutoff valve) before performing any repairs.

🚽 Here’s How To Fix A Toilet That Keeps Running

Now that you understand the problem, it’s time to take a look at how to stop a running toilet. There are two sides to it: either the toilet runs on and off, or the toilet keeps refilling constantly. Let’s take a look at the possible causes.

1. Lowering the Float Valve

Among the most common problems for a running toilet is caused by a fill valve issue. This is when the water level is too high and water spills out of the top tank and into the overflow tube then down into the toilet bowl.

This happens when there is excess water in the top tank. This can be fixed by lowering the water level or fill height by adjusting the height of the float ball. To get to it, the first step is to remove the tank lid.

Toilet Top Tank Breakdown

To lower the water level in the top toilet tank with the float arm (or lift arm), make sure to loosen or tighten the screw until the float arm with the float ball (or float cup) drops to the right level.

To lower the water level in a toilet tank with a column float attached to the fill valve, loosen the screw or clip and then push down the float arm with the float ball to the right level on the fill valve and tighten everything back up again. If the running stops, you have found your problem.

Also, check that the float tank ball is not touching the tank wall. You could fix the issue, but just make sure it isn’t getting stuck on the sidewall. This will ensure the level is lower than the overflow tube and stop a running toilet.

Fill valves are cheap and relatively simple to replace, so replace the entire valve assembly if this isn’t working.

2. The Toilet Flapper is Leaking and Needs a Replacement

Why does my toilet keep running? It could be the Flapper valve in toilet top tank

The second most common reason for running a toilet is a deteriorated toilet flapper valve (or valve seal). The flapper’s job is to seal the water in the tank.

When toilet flappers get too old, they don’t seal the way they are supposed to, allowing water to continually pass from the toilet top tank down into the toilet bowl. 

To replace the flapper, remove the old one and replace it with a new one that you can purchase from any hardware store. You can remove it by detaching the flapper chain (or lift wire) and taking the flapper off the mounting pins on the side of the overflow tube.

βœ… Tip for DIY newbies: Drain all the water from the tank first before replacing the toilet flapper. You can do this by shutting off the water supply that feeds the top tank and then flushing the toilet to drain the remaining water.

βœ… Another Tip: If the chain is too long, it could get caught underneath the flapper as the tank empties. Your toilet could be running because the flapper isn’t getting a good seal. So shorten it while you are in there poking around.

3. Shortening the Refill Tube

Fixing a toilet refill tube

The third cause of your running toilet could be that the refill tube (or overflow pipe) is continually pumping water into the bowl. This can happen when the fill tube is too long and isn’t positioned correctly in the overflow tube.

To shorten a tube, pull out the toilet overflow tube from the overflow and hold it just above the overflow opening. Trim it right there and then clip it to the side of the overflow tube. This will keep it in the right place.

βœ… Quick Note: This can cause the toilet to run because the refill valve is creating a suction effect that pulls water out of the fill valve.

Now that you’re all done. Turn on the water supply allowing water back into the toilet tank. Flush the toilet once it’s full and check for leaks. Also, check the water line level to ensure it refills to the right level. If everything went well, your toilet is no longer running!

Great Job! Now time to relax……

phyxter plumber unblocking a toilet

🚽 Toilet Running Every Few Minutes

If you find that your toilet is running intermittently, it’s a sign that there’s a leak somewhere in the toilet system. So, if your toilet won’t stop making noise, it’s time to see if you have a leak either inside or outside your toilet.

In other cases, a toilet fill valve may be leaking from the top. This is the result of pressure that’s too high inside the valve. You can also check our list of running toilet causes above to see if one of them might be the problem. 

🚽 Toilet Running All Night

In some cases, a toilet periodically runs. In other cases, the toilet keeps running after a flush. When you have toilet water running in the bowl constantly, it’s probably due to a leak, leaky toilet flapper, or even an over-length refill tube. 

So, if you see your toilet randomly run, check the step-by-step instructions above or call in expert help.

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🚽 Getting Expert Plumbing Help

Call your local plumber anytime during your repairs if you feel uncomfortable with what you’re doing or make a colossal mistake. They will be more than happy to help you fix your toilet problem.

An expert plumber can quickly assess the situation and propose a fix for your running toilet right there.

If you are having issues with your toilet gurgling, we have a great article right here: Toilet Gurgling? Here’s What Causes It and How to Fix It. Some of these symptoms are identical to a toilet that won’t flush correctly. If that’s the case, this article is with checking out: Toilet Not Flushing All The Way? Your DIY Fix It Guide.

They have years of experience with running toilets and can solve the root of the problem on the spot, including helping lower your water bill. A professional plumber will make sure the job is done correctly and prevent further damage from happening again.

 If your toilet keeps running or you have any other plumbing issues or emergencies and live in the Central or North Okanagan region, then Phyxter Home Services has you covered. We have Professional Plumbers in Vernon who are trained and experienced in all types of toilets and bathroom issues. 

Want to learn more about your home’s plumbing system? Feel free to check out our other plumbing articles.

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Russell Jones

Russell, a native Australian and VP of Operations at Phyxter Home Services, is also part-owner of Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Services. When he's not busy with work projects and renovations, Russell enjoys putting his vast knowledge of home improvement to good use by sharing his tips and tricks.

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Phyxter (pronounced Fix-ter) is a national home services brand specializing in Residential HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing solutions.

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