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A running toilet can be annoying and may need plumbing service soon.  We, as the homeowner, want to attempt to fix this problem on our own but we may need an expert.  Depending on the issue it might be a quick fix that can be done by you.  After considering all of your factors, you can make your decision.  Here at Carters My Plumber, we take pride in servicing our customers’ plumbing needs.  Below, we will take a look at the different scenarios that could be taking place, and help guide in your decision-making process.

You Hear Your Toilet Running, What’s Happening?

So, your toilet is making a running noise and you could be looking at a possible leak. Water could be leaking into the bowl continuously, so the tank never fills far enough.  The float could also be at fault by being in the wrong position.  Usually, fixing a running toilet is fairly an easy task.  Here is a list of a few possible causes according to the DIY Network.

How Can I Fix My Running Toilet at Home?

Phantom Flushes

This is an intermittent problem and most likely due to a bad flapper. You can drain the bowl, check, and clean the flapper seat, and even completely replace the flapper.

Water Trickling

The hissing sound is caused by water coming through the inlet valve. Check to see if the float is sticking or if the refill tube is inserted too far into the overflow tube.

The Bowl Empties Slowly

This is known as a weak flush and a result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. An easy little trick to loosen up the clog is to use a wire (maybe coat hanger wire) and loosen dirt that might be causing the blockage.

The Clog

Clogs are the most common problem but we have some ways that you can attempt to unclog. A force-cup plunger can be inserted into the drain and pump forcefully.  Slowly, release the handle and repeat the process if necessary.  A closet auger can be used for more stubborn clogs!!

Leaky Seals

There are 5 seals that could eventually spring a leak. Identify the faulty seal and attempt to tighten the seal or replace it.  You will need to drain and remove the tank to replace the seal.  There is one seal, the wax seal, that is mounted on the base of the toilet.  To repair the seal, you will have to actually remove the toilet and replace the wax seal.

Is It Okay if My Toilet is Running?

Don’t ignore the sound of a running toilet because it is wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day.  A running toilet is also costing you more money out of pocket, and you need to consider what the next best step to take in fixing the problem.

Next Best Steps for a Running Toilet

Internal Water Leak

Check the toilet flapper for decay or cracks. The flapper raises up when you flush the toilet to allow water to go into the toilet bowl.  After enough water exits the tank the flapper drops back down and reseals the tank.  If the flapper is broken it will cause the toilet to run continuously.  Replacing the flapper is easy, you can go to a local hardware store and easily replace this piece yourself. 

Check the Chain

Check the length of your chain to make sure that it is causing the flapper to correctly seal. You can easily adjust the chain to the correct length. Just do not make it too short because the flapper will not seal.

Float Ball/Arm

Inside the toilet tank, you will see a big plastic balloon, this is a float ball, which is connected to the float arm. The toilet tank knows when to stop filling up, according to the float ball.  An easy way to check this is to lift the float arm and if the running stops than you may have isolated the problem.

 Fill Tube

Find the fill tube, it’s a small flexible tube that after being flushed it squirts enough water into the bowl. This tube may just need to be reattached.

Do I Need A New Toilet?

There are a few things and questions to consider when making this decision.  First and foremost, how old is your toilet!? We obviously use this on a daily basis so toilets eventually, like anything else that is used over and over will need to be replaced.  How often are you repairing or calling a plumber to fix the toilet?  If you are constantly repairing it than it is time to replace.  If you notice wobbling beneath the toilet call a plumber.  It could be as simple as tightening the screws but could also signify something worse, like a rotting floor beneath.  Some of you may want to replace for cosmetic reasons.  Your toilet has lots of surface damage, and you want a newer and nicer toilet. If you are considering replacing your toilet, you will want to have a licensed plumber who knows what toilet is best for you.  We, here at Carter’s My Plumber, would love to help you make that decision. We understand that a toilet is a necessity and the decision process can, at times, be overwhelming.

Call A Licensed Plumber

If you have attempted to repair and it just seems to be unsuccessful, don’t hesitate to call a professional.  Here at Carter’s My Plumber, we will evaluate the situation with courtesy, respect, and a smile!! We hope to have your plumbing back to working efficiently in no time!! We know how inconvenient it is to be dealing with a running toilet when you have daily tasks that need to be done.  Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 317-859-9999 or make an appointment online! We are here for you and hope you can entrust us with your plumbing needs. 

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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