After flushing your toilet, it should only take a few seconds for the tank to refill with water. If your toilet continues to run for minutes or even hours, you may need professional plumbing services. Ignoring this problem could lead to a significant increase in your monthly water bills and potentially wear down other components in your toilet. By addressing this issue promptly, you can avoid these potential consequences and maintain the water efficiency of your toilet.

Common Causes

After you flush your toilet, the fixture pulls in new water for the next flush. As this water fills the tank, the float rises until it reaches its designated level. A healthy toilet will stop running once it has enough water. It’s not uncommon to occasionally run into flush difficulties, especially in larger households that experience more use. Here are a few potential causes behind why your toilet won’t stop running.

Stuck Toilet Handle or Chain

One of the easiest problems to fix is a stuck toilet handle. The handle is attached to the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank via a thin metal chain. This valve sits along the bottom of your tank and covers the pipe that runs to the bowl.

When the handle is depressed, the flapper valve lifts and allows the water in the tank to flow into the bowl. When the bowl fills, the resulting water pressure causes the toilet to flush. Once the tank empties, the flapper should fall back down, allowing the tank to refill. If the handle is stuck, the flapper can’t fall back down, and water flowing into the tank will flow right into the bowl. Sometimes, the handle is OK, but the chain gets stuck or tangled. Occasionally, the chain may be too long and gets caught under the valve, in which case, the valve can’t fully seal. In any case, the tank never fills, and you will continue to hear water running.

To troubleshoot this issue, you can check the handle’s internal lever. Often, you may be able to unstick it or release the chain by lightly jiggling the handle. If your toilet continues to run, you may need to invest in a new handle. This is usually a fairly simple process that most homeowners can do. However, we’re always here to help.

Old Toilet Flapper Valve

This may be one of the most common causes of a toilet that constantly runs. An older flapper valve may no longer be able to close all the way. They’re typically made of rubber or plastic, which can deteriorate after several years of use. The flapper may develop cracks or holes that leak water and lower efficiency. When enough water leaks into the bowl, the tank will refill. Fortunately, flappers are easy to replace and are widely available in home improvement stores. They come in various sizes and shapes, so ensure you get one matching your toilet’s dimensions.

Occasionally, the flapper will be fine but is still unable to create a sufficient seal. This can happen if the opening under the flapper is chipped or has a buildup of minerals. Either problem can allow water to seep around the flapper, causing phantom flushing and triggering the tank to refill.

Compromised Toilet Float or Fill Valve

The toilet float’s job it to trigger the water to turn off after the tank has been refilled. Traditionally, this part looks like a rubber balloon. It is attached by the float arm to the fill valve. When the float reaches a certain height, the water stops flowing into the tank.

Over time, the mechanism determining the shut-off point loosens, causing the tank to overfill. To prevent water from spilling onto the floor, toilets have an overflow tube that diverts excess water into the bowl. If the float is too high, the water never stops entering the tank. It creates an endless cycle of water overflowing into the bowl, which triggers phantom flushing.

You can check if this is a problem by opening the tank and pulling up on the float. If that stops the water, the setting for the float is off. Some modern toilets have an adjustable screw that makes it easy to change the float’s height. After toggling this screw, you can flush your toilet again and see if it continues to run. Persistent issues may point to a faulty fill valve that needs to be replaced.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure can prove especially harmful to older toilets. It can cause extra wear on the fill valve. A worn-out fill valve may get stuck while open or refuse to close all the way. The best way to address this concern is to have us install a pressure-reducing valve. We may then need to also replace the fill valve.

Incorrect Refill Tube Size

The overflow tube actually has two functions. One, as mentioned already, keeps water from overflowing the tank. The other is to allow the bowl to refill with water after flushing. Your toilet’s refill tube links the fill valve to the overflow tube. The refill valve should be set so the bowl and the tank reach the fill point simultaneously. If the refill tube is too long and goes too far into the overflow tube, it can siphon water from the tank. This lowers the tank’s water level and can trigger the tank to fill again.

When You Need Professional Plumber Help

Simple toilet handle or flapper replacements are easy do-it-yourself projects. However, attempting to fix your own plumbing always comes with the risk of making a mistake. As a homeowner, you may not be able to identify the signs of a bigger toilet problem. Additionally, it can be difficult to know which tools or components to use to get your toilet working again. Bringing in an experienced team ensures quality results every time. Plumbers also have industry-quality equipment and ample replacement parts.

While it may cost a little more to schedule professional service, many plumbing companies offer workmanship and quality guarantees. Counting on an expert to troubleshoot your running toilet can save you from having to deal with water damage or a premature replacement in the future.

Sometimes, the best way to prevent problems with toilets and other plumbing fixtures is to have us install a water softener. With hard water, excess magnesium and calcium can cause a buildup inside plumbing fixtures, including valves. This can affect washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, toilets, and sinks. It can also build up inside your coffee maker.

Locally Trusted Indoor Comfort Company

For superior heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services in Boise, Twin Falls, and other areas of southern Idaho, look to Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air. We specialize in providing the best home comfort solutions in the area. Let our highly trained technicians maintain, repair, or replace your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump. We can also upgrade your electrical panel or complete a whole-home safety inspection.

When you need plumbing help, we offer gas services and water heater, softener, and filtration installations. Rely on us for all your repiping, remodeling, and plumbing repair needs. Call Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air now to ask about our full suite of toilet services, like a clogged toilet, in southern Idaho.

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