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How to Fix a Running Toilet

How to fix a running toilet

How to fix a running toilet? It is not as difficult as you may think and certainly not worth calling a plumber out for. There are basically three faults that can cause a toilet to leak.  The float set at the wrong level, a leaking flapper and a faulty fill valve can all cause the toilet to keep running and keep you up all night. Luckily these faults can easily be fixed.

First you will need to do a visual inspection to see if the problem can be spotted straight away. Take the lid off the water tank so that you can see inside the tank where all the parts are. The first thing to look for is the water level. A water level that is too high will cause water to flow into the overflow tube and run into the bowl.


As shown in the picture above, the water level should be under the top of the overflow tube to avoid water from leaking in to the bowl. If the water level is too high you need to look at the following two causes:

  1. Float set at the wrong level.

    If the float is set too high, the water level will be too high, causing  water to flow into the overflow tube and leak into the bowl. To adjust the float down you can simply bend the lift arm down to achieve the right water level. Remember that the water level must be lower than the rim of the overflow tube.

  2. Leaking fill valve.

    If the float is set to the proper level but the water level still rises above the overflow tube it means that the fill valve is leaking.  In other words the fill valve doesn’t close when the float reaches its stop position. Lime scale build-up or worn inner parts can cause this valve to leak. It is always advisable to buy a new inner kit when you have a leaking fill valve. They are inexpensive and that way you know that it will work perfectly for a number of years to come.

  3. If the water level is right (just under the rim of the overflow tube) and the water still runs into the bowl, it means that you have a problem with the flapper.

    Before taking the flapper out make sure that the chain is hanging loose and not caught on something. This can cause the flapper to not close properly. An easy way to make sure that it is indeed the flapper that is causing the leak is to press the flapper down by hand. If the water stops running when the flapper is pressed down, it means that the flapper is faulty. Before you take the flapper out you would want to drain the tank. Close the stop valve next to the toilet and flush the toilet. The tank will now be empty and you can start taking out the flapper. Take the old flapper with as a sample when you go to the hardware store. They come in different shapes and sizes. Install the new flapper and your problem will be sorted!

These are the three causes of a running toilet and as you can see, anyone can fix it. The article How to fix a running toilet was written by the admin team of the DIY Hubby, for more articles  please see the how-to category.

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