You're sitting on the couch in your home, watching a movie with your family, but you keep finding yourself distracted. What's that noise? Where is it coming from? You poke around your house chasing the noise. Jackpot: It's the toilet. You jiggle the handle a bit to try and stop the running noise. Nothing. Luckily, there are easy steps you can follow to fix the problem.
Here are four tips for how to stop a running toilet:
1. Readjust the fill tube
One cause of a running toilet may be overflow. To solve this issue, first open the lid of the tank and locate the fill tube. You'll want to look for a small, rubber tube running from the fill valve to the overflow tube. The flexible tube is responsible for refilling the toilet bowl with water after a flush. If the tube is disabled or doesn't lead to the overflow tube, your toilet won't refill with fresh water, causing a weak flush. Simply and firmly attach the fill tube onto the fill back onto the valve. Next, flush your toilet to make sure the water is properly running down the overflow tube.
2. Inadequate water level
When you open the lid, you'll notice a rod with an adjustable float attached to it. This controls the tank's water level. There are two issues with the float that you could come across: It's set too high or too low. A low float results in a weak flush; and if the float is set too high, water floods the overflow tube and the fill valve won't shut off. The latter causes a continuous stream of water and that running noise you can't seem to shake.
For reference, the float should rest at about 1 inch below the top of the overflow tube. To set the water level, adjust the float by pinching the clip and sliding the float up or down the rod until it hits that 1-inch mark. To make sure the water level is stable, flush the toilet and see if the water reaches and stops at the recommended height.
If you're still experiencing issues after you adjusted the float, it's most likely flawed and you'll need to purchase a new one or contact a professional.
3. Uneven or tangled flapper chain
If you're unable to flush your toilet, there could potentially be an issue with the flapper chain. If a chain is too short or tangled, the flapper won't be able to close, therefore, water will continue leaking into the toilet bowl. If the chain is too long, the flapper is unable to expand wide enough and remain open throughout the entire flush. All you have to do is adjust the chain, leaving only a bit of slack when the lid is closed.
4. Old flapper
If you've performed all three methods above and are still distracted by that running noise, it's time to replace the flapper. This part is made of rubber, so over time, it will start to wear out and/or accumulate buildup.
To start the replacement process, your tank must be completely drained. Do so by closing the water valve followed by a flush. Water will not refill the bowl if the valve is closed. Next, remove the old flapper by plucking it off its hinges. If you aren't sure where the flapper is located, it's the plastic material that's attached to the rod. Disconnect the flapper from the chain and replace it with the new one. After you've done that, open the valve all the way and try flushing your toilet a few times to be sure the chain is at its proper length.
If you’re more of a visual learner then check out our video on How to Replace a Toilet Flapper Valve.
Still having issues or concerned that you didn't perform these steps properly? Give your Roto-Rooter professionals a call to come check it out. Better safe than sorry, right?