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How To Stop a Toilet From Running

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A toilet with open lid in a modern bathroom with natural light entering through the window above the bathtub.

We know, the headline is a great start to a bad joke, but a constantly running toilet isn’t always a laughing matter.

Toilets account for about 11% of your home’s water usage, and flushes can use up to 1.6 gallons of water (or up to 6 gallons with older toilets). However, if your toilet is constantly running, you could use up to 200 gallons of water a day or 6,000 gallons of water per month! Not only is this a hefty burden for your wallet to take on, but it’s also a massive waste of resources and terrible for the environment.

If you notice that your toilet is constantly running and you have no idea where to start, this blog will help you troubleshoot some common causes for this problem and provide you with some insight on how to fix it correctly. That being said, one of the best ways you can prevent plumbing issues like these is to have regular maintenance checks from our professional team.

Plumbing maintenance gets ahead of common issues, saving you the cost and headache of repairs and replacements. Book your next plumbing maintenance appointment with the professionals at Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating today!

How Do Issues Start?

Several issues may cause your toilet to keep running, but one of the most common is that the flapper chain is tangled or caught on something inside the tank. In this case, you may only need to jiggle the flush lever a little bit so that the flapper can seal the tank and fill it with water again.

However, if you’ve tried this and your toilet is still running, this could be indicative of another problem altogether:

The Float Height Is Too High

If your float height, determined by your fill valve, is above your overflow tube, your water supply won’t stop and your overflow tube will constantly leak water into your toilet bowl.

Your Flapper Isn’t Stopping Water Flow

One of the most common issues that you can look for immediately is the quality of your flapper. Old, run-down flappers won’t seal after you flush your toilet, meaning that they will constantly leak water into your toilet bowl.

Your Refill Tube is Too Long

Inside your toilet tank is a tube that refills your toilet bowl after you flush. This refill tube is connected to your fill valve and is placed inside your overflow tube to fill the toilet bowl. However, if the refill tube is too long, it can create a siphoning effect that could keep running water into your toilet bowl.

View from above showing an open toilet storage tank with the water valve and flapper mechanism exposed.

How Can You Fix These Issues?

Before you start working on correcting the issue inside your toilet tank, you’ll first need to drain the tank, shut off its water supply, and put on a pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands clean. 

Now, let’s look at some solutions:

Adjusting Your Float Height

You can set the float height at certain levels by adjusting the fill valve height.

After draining the tank, you’ll hold the float cup as high as it goes before you remove the cap assembly. Detach the refill tube, and you can twist the valve to the specific height you need so that the water level is lower than the overflow tube. You’ll be able to measure this by making sure the float cup is about half an inch lower than the overflow tube.

Changing Your Flapper

Flappers are rubber stoppers that sit in water all of the time, so it’s not surprising that they need to be replaced after a number of years.

To replace the flapper, all you’ll have to do is drain the toilet and unhook the flapper from where it’s attached to the overflow tube. You can look for any issues around the flush valve (the hole the flapper covers) to spot any underlying damage.

Unhook the chain from the flush arm, and run the process backwards with a brand new flapper.

Changing Your Fill Tube Length

A long refill tube can end up costing you much more money than they’re worth, so make sure they’re an appropriate length for your overflow tube.

The golden rule is to have it sit just inside the top of the overflow tube. Flush it once to make sure water stops flowing from the tube once the tank is full.

When Should You Call Our Team?

Many of the above fixes are easy to make and only will take a few minutes of your time to get done. 

However, what about the issues you can’t fix by yourself? While there are plenty of YouTube videos you can search for that’ll provide some quick tricks and tips, nothing beats the expertise of a trained professional.

If you continue to experience problems with your toilet or plumbing and you’ve tried all of the fixes above, call the team at Lee’s Air, Plumbing, and Heating! We’ve spent years providing quality fixes for both residential and commercial plumbing issues, and we’re ready to bring the same help to you today.

Written by Thomas Howard

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