3 Reasons Your Toilet Water May Not Stop Running

Toilet Getting Repaired

What Causes a Constantly Running Toilet?

A constantly running toilet is almost always caused by one of the following three things:

  • Debris buildup in the tank
  • A bad flush valve
  • A bad tank flapper.

If you are looking at excess debris, cleaning the toilet tank is pretty straightforward. If it's one of the other two problems, you'll have to make a quick trip to the hardware store to buy the replacement parts. A store representative can help you make sure you buy the right ones.

1. Debris in the Tank

Any plumber who has done drain or sewer repair can tell you that municipalities do not always do a bang-up job keeping local water supplies clean. If your home is on a well, you already know that debris can build up in the toilet tank. Either way, debris can prevent the flush valve from operating correctly. It can also prevent the tank flapper from properly seating itself after each flush.

There is an easy way to tell if your problem is related to the flapper. When you hear the water running, just jiggle the handle for a couple of seconds. If the flapper is the problem, it should re-seat itself well enough to allow the tank to begin filling with water again. If that doesn't work, look for excess debris in the tank.

Cleaning a dirty tank is as easy as shutting off the water supply, draining the tank by flushing, and then using rags to soak up any water. Finally, use a vacuum to remove any remaining debris after the tank dries out.

2. A Bad Flush Valve

The flush valve is that long-stemmed valve that controls water flow into the toilet tank. Flush valves wear out over time. Take a look in your tank and you'll notice that the flush valve has a float that slowly rises to the top as the tank fills with water. If the float reaches the top but the water does not shut off, the valve needs to be replaced.

Valve replacement is pretty straightforward. You shut off the water, unscrew the existing valve from the bottom of the toilet, insert in new valve, and lock it in place. Attach the overflow hose and the handle chain and you're all set.

3. Add Tank Flapper

Every plumber who has ever fixed a running toilet can identify a bad flapper quite quickly. Like toilet belts, tank flappers wear out over time. They can warp to the extent that they do not create a firm seal when seated in place. If the valve seems to be working and you don't see any debris in the toilet, chances are the flapper needs to be replaced. You can do the job in seconds simply by detaching the old flapper, removing it, and attaching a new one in its place.

A constantly running toilet is usually not a job requiring a visit from our Salt Lake City plumbers. Most people can resolve the issue on their own. However, do not hesitate to call us if you need help. We are always here to assist homeowners with troubled plumbing.

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