Ask Pete: Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

So many homeowners have questions they don’t feel comfortable asking. Mostly, they expect that they should already know the answer, but we as plumbers know that isn’t true. A common question people have is why is their toilet running either continuously or just running too long after flushing. Let’s ask Pete what is going on here.

Pete, Why Is My Toilet Running?

Well, there are a few typical causes for this. Usually, it is a simple fix of a worn-out part that just needs replacing. When clients describe the toilet as “running” it’s usually that sound of water filling the tank after the flush they mean. The water running sound either doesn’t stop or just goes on way too long. 

That sound means one of about 3 or 4 things; a worn flapper, a faulty float,  the drain seat is worn, or there’s an issue with the overflow tube. These are all simple fixes.

How to stop a toilet from running?

The first trick is to figure out which piece is causing the problem. If the whole toilet mechanism is old, you are going to be happier replacing the whole thing at once, and that way it won’t be the first one fixed, then later on the next piece gets too worn and now you have to fix that one.  But, to keep it simple, these are the quick checks and quick fixes you can start with: 

  • The flapper: This is often the culprit. Sometimes there is just a block on the flapper or a twist in the chain and it simply didn’t close all the way. Push it closed by hand, and see if that stops the running (after a few seconds). If not, check to see if the flapper itself is worn and causing water to leak underneath. If that’s the case, you will want to replace that flapper at a minimum.
  • Refill tube problems: See if the refill tube is too short, or has cracks/holes that are causing the water to run constantly.
  • The float height: Take a look at how it’s operating in case it needs to be adjusted so that it doesn’t fail to rise to its full height and stop the water from flowing into the tank.

If you’ve tried our solutions and your toilet keeps running, the next step is to call a professional plumber in Gilbert/Mesa. Reach out to us if you have any questions you want to be answered in an “Ask Pete” section or feel free to call us directly at 480-388-6093 with any of your plumbing questions or issues; we are happy to help.