Dec 19 , 2018

How to Stop a Running Toilet

Video: How to Fix a Running Toilet

The Family HandymanHow to Stop a Running Toilet

Overview

Toilets haven’t changed much in the last 80 years. After a flush, water still fills a tank, lifting a float that shuts off the water when it reaches a certain level. A lever still opens a flapper to cause the flush, falling back into place when the water level drops. So it’s no surprise (nor any consolation) that we face the same flush problems today that our grandparents did. Sometimes the flush is too wimpy, sometimes the toilet keeps running, and sometimes the bowl doesn’t refill.

Our ace plumbing consultant has a simple four-step strategy to solve 95 percent of these problems. You can complete the first three steps in five minutes. That’ll solve most problems. The fourth step is usually easy too, but not always. More on this later. These steps work for most toilets but not for pressure-assist models. Here’s what to do if your toilet won’t stop running.

Check the Fill Tube

Check the toilet fill tube diagram

For a toilet overflow tube problem, remove the tank lid and find the fill tube. It’s a small flexible tube that runs from the fill valve to the toilet overflow tube. While the tank refills, this tube squirts enough water down the toilet overflow tube to refill the bowl after the completed flush. If this tube falls off or the water stream misses the overflow tube, the bowl won’t fill and your next flush will be wimpy (that is, won’t develop a strong siphon).

Reattach the fill tube and push it firmly onto the fill valve. Make sure it perches about 1 in. above the rim of the overflow tube and that thefill tube sends water into the toilet overflow tube. Flush the toilet and watch the water stream to make sure it goes down the toilet overflow tube.

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