How To Identify And Fix A Running Toilet


By Dave Bangar

How To Identify and Fix a Running Toilet

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why Your Toilet Is Constantly Running and How to Resolve the Issue

A running toilet is one of the most common plumbing nuisances experienced by Kelowna homeowners. Between the skyrocketing water bills and the high risk of flooding, this is not an issue you want to leave unresolved for a long period of time. Thankfully, a running toilet is often an easy and inexpensive fix if you have the right tools and guidance.

If you suspect your toilet might be continuously running and you need help addressing the problem, we have you covered. Keep reading to find out what may be causing your toilet to run and the steps you can take to fix the issue.

What is a Running Toilet and What Causes It?

A running toilet occurs when water continues to flow from the tank into the toilet bowl after flushing. The main causes of a running toilet include:

  • A faulty flapper
  • Damaged fill valves
  • Damaged flush handle or chain
  • Incorrect float height
  • Mineral deposits and debris

What Happens When Your Toilet Continuously Runs

A running toilet can be a serious issue that often leads to the following:

  • Wasted water
  • Increased water bills
  • Leaks
  • Costly water damage in your home
  • Damage to the toilet’s components 

How to Repair a Running Toilet

While a running toilet can be a serious issue if left unresolved, the good news is that this problem is also very easily fixable. Below, we’ve outlined some step-by-step instructions for repairing a running toilet.

  1. Turn off the water supply by turning the water shut-off valve near the base of the toilet clockwise.
  2. Once the water supply is turned off, remove the tank lid and check the flapper (a rubber or plastic component at the bottom of the tank). If the flapper is warped, damaged, or has mineral buildup, it may not be forming a proper seal, causing the water to leak. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace the flapper to resolve the issue.
  3. If you can’t seem to find an issue with the flapper, try checking the fill valve, as this may be what’s causing your toilet to run. You can check the fill valve by flushing the toilet and keeping an eye on the water level. If the water level rises above the overflow tube, the fill valve may need adjusting or replacing.
  4. If your toilet has a ball float or float cup on the fill valve, you can try adjusting the float height to see if that fixes the problem. You can do this by bending the float arm slightly downwards to lower the water level or upwards to raise it. Note that the water level should hover around one inch below the top of the overflow tube. 
  5. If the float height isn’t the problem, check the flush handle and chain to make sure it is properly connected to the flush valve. The chain should have enough slack so that the flapper forms a seal against the flush valve when not in use. If the chain is too tight or too loose, it’s probably what is causing your toilet to run. 
  6. If any of the above steps have not resolved the issue, try cleaning out your toilet tank and components to remove any debris, mineral deposits, or rust. 
  7. Once you have pinpointed the issue and made the appropriate fix, turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet to make sure the issue has been resolved. If your toilet continues to run, it may be time to call a plumber.

When to Call a Plumber

While a running toilet can most often be fixed without help from a plumber, if you don’t have any plumbing experience or aren’t feeling confident in your ability to fix the problem, we always recommend working with a licensed plumber.

At My Plumber Kelowna, we have a team of licensed, trained, and highly experienced plumbers who can diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve the issue or even install a new toilet if needed. 

If you find yourself dealing with a toilet that won’t stop running, give us a call today at 250-601-0000 or fill out a form on our website, and we will be in touch ASAP.

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