Why Won’t My Toilet Stop Running?


We all know the dreaded feeling – when you flush your toilet and suddenly, it doesn’t stop running. It isn’t clogged, but that noise just keeps going. If you don’t figure out a way to stop it, you know your water bill may see a jump soon.  

Running toilets are not a new issue; this has something that has happened for years.  Toilets, however, have not changed much in the last one hundred years, so thankfully we have figured out the common fixes for these issues. Fixing a running toilet is usually a quick and easy procedure, and White’s Plumbing can help walk you through the steps.

Check the Flapper

Your toilet flapper is a small rubber circle that sits at the bottom of the toilet tank. It is usually attached to the overflow tube and also has a chain attached to it. When the chain moves, it moves the flapper upwards to let water out of the tank, subsequently flushing the toilet. 

However, when the flapper does not sit correctly in its spot, this may cause issues with the toilet running. If the flapper is not completely covering the hole that it sits in, it will allow water to continuously leak out of the toilet tank, and therefore keep running.  This may be because the flapper simply wore out over time.  Luckily, this is an easy fix:

Replace the Flapper

  1. First, you will want to shut off the water supply to your toilet. Once you do this, you will flush the toilet so that the water will drain out of the tank. Now you have access to the tank without any water in the way.
  2. Next, you will see a horizontal lever that seems to connect to the handle of the toilet – the flush handle lever. From this, there is the chain dangling down that connects to the flapper.  Remove the chain from the flush handle lever.  
  3. From here, you will replace the actual flapper.  Depending on the design of the flapper, it should either have pegs that attach to the sides of the flush valve tube, or you will need to cut the old one off and slide the new one on.
  4. After you place the flapper, you will connect its new chain.  Make sure that when the handle is not touched, the chain has a little bit of slack to it.  Otherwise, if the chain is too tight, the flapper may not sit correctly.
  5. Now you may turn the water supply back on to your toilet.  Flush the toilet a few times to test the new flapper, and you are good to go!

Check Water Level Adjustment

The tube your flapper usually connects to is called the overflow tube.  This tube keeps the water in your toilet tank from rising too high.  Across from this is the fill valve, which tells your toilet how much water to put into the tank.  

If your toilet continuously runs and the issue is not the flapper, chances are the water level in the tank is too high. The water will flow into the overflow tube and then down into the toilet bowl itself.  Usually, the overflow tube has a mark on it that designates the water level line. You will simply need to lower the water level to this mark.

Lowering the Water Level

  1. The fill valve has what is called a float. This is what will actually adjust the water level in the tank.  On newer toilets, this will look like a rod that stands up and down. It attaches to the fill valve. 
  2. Loosen the screw or clip, then move the rod down to lower the water level.
  3. You will want the water level to be about one inch below the overfill tube, if you cannot see a designated line.
  4.  Make sure that the water level is where you would like it to be, then tighten the screw or clip again.
  5.  Flush your toilet to make sure everything has adjusted correctly. 

Contact White’s Plumbing

The flapper and the water level in the tank are two of the biggest reasons why a toilet may continuously run. While these seem like pretty easy fixes, things can sometimes go wrong. For example, when replacing the flapper, the overflow tube may potentially break if you are not careful. This will lead to a bigger problem.

If you are not comfortable diagnosing the problem or fixing it yourself, White’s Plumbing is here to help.  If you are in the Youngsville, North Carolina area, and are having an issue with a running toilet, we are happy to come and see what is going on for you.  Feel free to contact us today, and someone will be in touch with you shortly.

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