Tips For Fixing A Toilet That Won't Stop Running

A toilet is supposed to flush down the water, refill the bowl and then stop. But that last part is sometimes skipped, resulting in constantly running water in the toilet. This can prove highly annoying due to the sound but can also make your water bill go through the roof. What are some common methods for fixing a toilet that won't stop running?

Check the Flapper

Lift the lid for the tank of the toilet. The tank is the back part that holds the clean water waiting to be cycled into the bowl. Inside you will see an elevated arm connected with a chain to a round rubber device at the bottom of the tank. These are the flush lever and the flapper. In a properly working toilet, pressing the flush handle on the outside activates the flush lever, which in turn lifts the rubber flapper, allowing water to leave the tank into the bowl.

A problem with the flush lever or the flapper can create a constantly running toilet. Check the length of the connecting chain: too short and the flush lever won't fully lift the flapper; too long and the chain can get caught under the flapper and keep it from properly shutting again. Replacement chains can be found cheap at hardware stores.

Also check to make sure the flapper itself isn't damaged. Flush the water out of the tank then lift the rubber disk. Check both sides for cracks, warping or any other damage. If there's build-up from hard water, clean the flapper so that it can sit flush with the opening at the bottom of the tank.

Check the Float

See the balloon-shaped device inside the tank? That's called the float and it connects to the pipe and signals when the tank is full enough. When properly working, the float should stop the water before it goes over the overflow pipe. Stopping the water at that point keeps the extra water from going into that overflow and back into the bowl.

Make sure the float is working by flushing the toilet and watching the water level. If the water consistently goes above the overflow pipe, then there's something wrong with the float—often a crack or warping that prevents it from floating properly. Replace the float and try again. If the water now stops at the proper level, you are good to go.

Call a Plumber

If you've checked all of the mechanisms and your toilet is still running, call in a plumber like Rakeman Plumbing. There might be damage or a malfunction you're overlooking and the cost of a plumber will still be less than your next water bill. If the toilet needs to be replaced, your plumber can provide that service and recommend the best replacement toilet for your needs.