How to Fix a Running Toilet
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Toilets that never quite seem to stop refilling are more than just an annoyance. All that leaking water is going down the drain, either inflating the home water bill or potentially damaging a septic system. Yet fixing a running toilet is surprisingly easy for the handy homeowner. Take care of a running toilet in just a few hours with these steps.
Look for Leaks and Loose Tubes
Every toilet tank will contain a small and somewhat flexible tube. It connects the two large pipes known as the fill valve and the overflow pipe. When this little section of tubing comes loose, cracks, or dips below the waterline, the toilet will continuously run. It can take just seconds to tighten or replace this tube, putting a stop to annoying toilet running noises. Older toilets should still be easy enough to fix this way with universal replacement parts if exact fits aren’t available anymore. If the fill tube is intact, look for leaks around the fill valve. Lift the arm attached to the float to see if this stops the filling. Cracked fill tubes will generally continue to leak, even when someone attempts a quick fix by lifting the float arm. Fortunately, homeowners can easily replace them with matching parts.
Verify the Float Still Floats
If the float isn’t connected to the arm anymore, the toilet never receives any signal that the tank is full of water. The float can bob around all day or sink to the bottom and leave the toilet continuously filling and emptying itself. Whether the float is missing, damaged, or just loose, it’s very easy to replace. Make sure the float arm isn’t bent, cracked, or broken either. Most homeowners will likely find it easier and faster to replace the entire float and arm assembly to ensure both parts are working fine.
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Test the Flapper and Replace as Needed
Finally, the flapper is the most common part to cause an intermittent or random running problem. The flapper seals to the bottom of the tank and opens the drain again when someone pushes the flush handle. When the chain breaks or the flapper starts to curl, it’s easy for water to break through the seal and run all the time. Use a paint stirrer or bamboo skewer to hold the flapper down and see if that solves the running issue. If so, the tank needs a new flapper and chain.