What Do You Do When Your Toilet Won’t Stop Running?

Tools on Top of a Running Toilet

Running Toilet Repair is Much Easier Than You’d Think! Find Out How it’s Done.

What’s more irritating than a leak in your home? Whether faulty attic insulation allows extra heat into your home, or a busted dishwasher drips water onto the kitchen floor, the frustration feels the same. So is the need for a reliable, immediate fix.

Today, we’ll be talking about one of the most common frustrations in residential plumbing: a leaking toilet. Perhaps you’ve heard your toilet running randomly in the night. You may have even felt the effects on your water bill. Before you call the toilet repair plumber, let’s figure out what you can do to stop the running water!

Why Do I Hear Water Running in My Toilet?

When a toilet runs amuck, nine times out of ten the problem lies within the tank. There are two primary portions of your toilet tank that you’ll need to investigate: the fill valve and the flapper. The good news is any problems here can be fixed easily, without breaking the bank.

First Steps

How to Repair a Toilet That Keeps Running

If you need to shutoff the water immediately (to prevent the bowl from overflowing), you can always turn off the valve located beneath the toilet tank. However, you’ll need to understand the cause of the running water to understand how to fix it. To fix the problem in the back of the tank, you’ll either have to replace the flapper, adjust the fill valve, or replace the fill valve.

We’ll get into the details in just a little while.

Potential Options

Choosing Your Best Option

Many homeowners experience a running toilet at some point in their lifetime. While the porcelain around your toilet is made to last, the parts inside won’t always do the same. However, replacing the toilet altogether is rarely the practical (or cost-effective answer).

Toilet Repair vs Replacement

  • Repairs – you can fix the problem within a couple hours.
  • Repairs – costs are typically kept under $100, unless you hire a professional.
  • Repairs – you don’t have to go through removing and disposing the toilet.
  • Replacement – the toilet must be disconnected, disposed.
  • Replacement – piping may need to be adjusted to fit your new toilet.
  • Replacement – you have to purchase a new toilet and have it installed.
  • Replacement – you won’t have to deal with fixing a running toilet, for awhile.

Considering the ease of repairs and the amount of money you could save, fixing the toilet is typically the best option. However, if you are already looking to remodel, you could save a little money by skipping repairs and shutting off supply valve.

Troubleshooting the Water Problem


Why Does My Toilet Randomly Run for a Few Seconds?

There is likely a problem with the flapper, which allows water into the toilet bowl. A damaged or debris-blocked flapper slowly allows water to seep into the bowl, until the water level reaches a threshold. The float arm or buoy drops in response to the lower water level and briefly activates the fill valve. Thus water rushes in to refill the loss for just a few seconds.

How do you fix a toilet that runs randomly?

First, confirm that the flapper is truly the problem. Examine the chain that lifts the flapper and make sure the tension isn’t too strong. This can cause the flapper to pull up when nobody’s using the toilet. There should be a little (and just a little) slack on the chain. You can make adjustments if necessary.

If pressing down on the flapper itself with a gloved hand or a tool stops the drip, you’v confirmed a deformity the problem is indeed the flapper. Shut off the water supply, drain the tank and replace the damaged part. You can bring it with you to the local store to ensure you get a matching replacement.

Constant Running

Why is My Toilet Running All the Time?

This is a costly problem that’s actually very easy to fix! If the water in the tank continues to climb until it spills into the overflow pipe, that means there is probably an issue with the water height setting. In rare cases however, the fill valve becomes too damaged to function properly and needs to be replaced.

How do I get my toilet to stop running?

To adjust the water level, you need to fix the settings on the float arm or buoy. On modern valves with the float buoy, you’ll typically find a screw on top of the arm connecting the buoy to the valve cap. On systems with a float arm, you’ll find the adjustment screw near the cap.

Should the whole fill valve require replacement, turn off the supply valve and empty out the tank. Family Handyman has a helpful video that shows you exactly how to do this! Be sure to take precautions to avoid spills when you remove the fill valve.

Schedule Your Toilet Repair!

That’s basic toilet repair for a running toilet! If you run into more complicated problems, or you have difficulties with completing the repairs yourself, our residential plumbing team at Sunset West Plumbing & Rooter Inc. would love to help. Simply give us a call at (310) 454-2010 and schedule your appointment!