Exploring Emergency Plumbing Services

Is Your Toilet Running? Then Better Use This Guide To Catch It!

by April Rivera

Owning a home can be an overwhelming experience. From the initial purchase to various tasks to clean and maintain the house, it is easy to see how stress becomes a part of your life. Unfortunately, certain updates and repairs are imperative for maintaining your investment. Considering the popularity of plumbing problems for many homeowners, learning how to diagnose and repair these issues can be helpful.

If the water in your toilet seems to be running continuously, figuring out the root cause is essential. Using this guide, you can catch and repair your running toilet.

Running Toilet 101

Listening to the constant running water can be an unpleasant sound, but it could also be a sign of a serious issue in your toilet. However, many homeowners experiencing a running toilet learn the problem is a minor one and can repair it on their own. 

To determine the cause of running water in your toilet, remove the tank lid to inspect the interior mechanisms. Place the lid on a sturdy surface to ensure it does not fall and break into pieces. Flush the toilet and watch as the water refills. In most cases, the continuous running water is due to a valve or ball problem.

Diagnosing your Running Toilet

In a toilet in perfect working order, the interior parts and mechanisms will operate like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, your running toilet is running for a reason.

After flushing the toilet, use the following tips to determine why water is running in your tank:

  • Float – The larger ball inside your tank is the float. If this ball is damaged or not adjusted properly, it will cause water to continuously move into the tank. Over time, the water will dribble into the bowl.
  • Connection – If the water continues running after you flush, wiggle the flush handle to see if it stops. If moving the flush handle up and down stops the water from running, there is most likely a connection issue between the flush handle and ball.
  • Valve Flapper – Inspect the flush valve opening after your flush the toilet. If it sticks or struggles as it recovers the drain opening, water will run inside your toilet tank.

Catch your Toilet

A toilet in proper working order is not only important for its function and value, but also imperative for conserving water. While surprising to hear, a constantly running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. This is harmful to the environment, but also increases your monthly water bill.

If the running stops after wiggling the toilet handle, you do not need to replace any interior parts. However, you may need to replace the ball float and flapper valve using the following steps:

  1. Turn off the water to your toilet. Flush to empty the water from the tank.
  2. Use pliers to loosen and disconnect the float rod to remove the ball float.
  3. Screw the new ball float onto the existing rod. Ensure the opposite end of the rod attaches to the valve.
  4. Turn on the water to refill the tank. Wait a few minutes for the tank to refill to its normal level.
  5. Flush the toilet to determine if the water is still running. If so, turn the water off a second time and flush to empty the tank.
  6. Unsnap the flapper valve from the overflow tube. Bring the old flapper to the store to find a similar piece.
  7. Connect the new flapper valve. Be sure it seals tightly, but opens and close without sticking.
  8. Turn the water back on and allow the tank to refill.
  9. Flush and wait 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the water is no longer running.

From an unpleasant sound to extreme wastage of water, a running toilet can be overwhelming. Using this guide, you can catch and repair your running toilet. If, after doing all this, your toilet is still running, it's time to call in a professional plumbing service.