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How To Stop a Running Toilet & Toilet Overflow

How To Stop a Running Toilet & Toilet Overflow

A running toilet is a pain in the you-know-what! A running toilet wastes water, money, and your patience. If you neglect a running toilet, you could be losing over $10 a month on water waste and adding to your guilty environmental conscience.

The good news is that fixing a running toilet is an easy task that you can do yourself, in minimal time and with tools that you already have at home. Before spending money on a plumber, try these simple tips to fix your running toilet today! These steps work for most gravity-flush toilets; however, for more complicated pressure-assites flush toilets, we recommend that you call a professional East Brunswick plumber.

If by the end of this blog tutorial, you still haven’t fixed your running toilet, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Gold Medal Plumbing. If you see leaking anywhere near the base of the toilet or wall area, you have a bigger problem. Call your plumber right away.

How to Fix a Running Toilet:

Tools: wire cutters, flathead screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver, replacement toilet flapper and ball float (as needed)

Use this picture as a reference guide: 

Anatomy of a toilet

Source: antczak

  1. The first thing you want to do is turn off the water to your toilet.
    • There is a little silver metal knob shaped like an oval near the base of the toilet. Remember the old saying, “righty tighty, lefty loosey,” as you turn the valve clockwise until it can’t move anymore to shut off water to your toilet.
  2. After shutting off water to your toilet, lift the lid to the top of your toilet tank.
  3. The first thing you want to look for is thetoilet flapper, that roundish rubber gasket piece at the bottom of the tank. Often the flapper becomes worn out from regular wear and tear, so you will want to inspect it for any damage/corrosion. The flapper needs to be able to form a seal around the drain, or flush valve, at the bottom of the tank. If it has become warped or damaged, which prevents a full seal, your toilet will continue to run and waste water until you replace your old flapper.
    • You can find a universal flapper at your local hardware store for around $8. Double check to make sure that the replacement flapper is the right size for your toilet.
    • A good test to see if the flapper is the cause of the problem is to put a couple drops of food coloring in your tank and wait 15 minutes to see if the color has seeped into the toilet bowl itself.
  4. The next possible cause of a running toilet is the toilet chain. If it gets caught or stuck between the toilet flapper and the flush valve, the water will continue to run. If this happens, the flapper will not be able to create a seal, thus leaving an opening for water to escape through the flush valve.
    • If the chain is too long, it is easy to readjust it by moving the clip a little farther down the chain or adjusting it with your wire cutters. If it is too short, the flapper won’t reach down far enough to create a seal. If your chain needs to be replaced, the part can be found at your local hardware store for about $2.
  5. If the chain and flapper look good, the problem may be with the ball float. Your ball float needs to be replaced if it is cracked or full of water. The adjustment is where the screw is. As you tighten the screw with your screwdriver, the ball float will get lowered, which will hopefully turn your toilet off before the water reaches the overflow tube. Turning the screw counterclockwise will raise the arm and the corresponding water line. Ideally, the water line should be about 1 inch or a little less from the overflow tube.
  6. After checking all of these things, make sure to double-check the flush handle, flapper, chain, and ball float to be certain that they are working properly.
  7. Now, you can turn the water back on and test to see if these steps solved your problem. If they haven’t, go back to step one and start over. If you have a leak in your overflow tube/fill valve, consult The Family Handyman how-to.

If you are still having problems with an overflowing or running toilet, call the professional plumbers at Gold Medal Service – (732) 365-3199

Whether your concern is a minor faucet leak, a major pipe burst, or a new fixture installation, we guarantee you phenomenal workmanship and customer service.

To schedule plumbing or heating maintenance, contact the professionals at Gold Medal Service. We'll be there with our same day service guarantee to assess your problem.

Give us a call today at (732) 365-3199 or schedule an appointment online!

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