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Fix a Running Toilet - a how to guide

Being able to fix a running toilet may not be something that is always a part of bathroom remodel, but it is a fairly simple Do It Yourself job that anyone can tackle..... whether your toilet is running or just a little leaky.

Usually, a running toilet flushes just fine, it just does not stop running after the tank fills..... this can be very frustrating..... so, how do you fix a toilet that's running?  Fortunately, it is usually not too difficult or expensive to repair....

There are several things in a toilet that can cause it to continue running....... either the flapper does not close properly either because it is caught on something or it is defective, or the valve and float need to be adjusted or replaced.

Check the Flapper

If the tank is not full and it is not filling, chances are that the flapper is stuck open. Reach in and close the flapper with your hand. If it sticks repeatedly, look for the cause, and make any adjustments necessary..... Some things to look for....

  • Check the chain - is it allowing the flapper to close properly?

  • Is the flapper seated properly over the opening

  • Is the flapper old and needs to be replaced?

Adjust the valve and float

Check inside the tank, if the water is running over the top of the overflow tube, but the toilet is still running, then the valve and float simply have to be adjusted to keep the level of the water in the tank from rising as high as it currently does..... You can pull up on the valve with your hand  to see if this stops the flow of water into the overflow tube..... adjust the float to stop the water about an inch below the top of the overflow tube. 

This process may take a few flushes of the toilet to fix a running toilet, but through trial and error, you will figure it out.

Replace the Toilet Parts if necessary

If you cannot make any of the adjustments listed above, the flapper and the valve / float mechanism are both sold separately or as a complete toilet repair kit and are available at most hardware stores or home improvement warehouse stores.

  • If this bathroom remodel task seems to be more than you want to tackle on your own, you may want to check out our Free Bathroom Remodeling Estimates for your full or partial bathroom remodel needs.

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