My Toilet Won't Stop Running

A running toilet can be a frustrating nuisance in your home. From the noise it makes, to the fact that you are wasting water, when you can’t get your toilet to stop running it can really ruin your day. Luckily, there are some steps you can try in order to get that pesky bathroom fixture back in working order, so next time your toilet continues to run past its flush, learn the easy steps to take to get it to quit.

Step 1

Check the floor around your toilet for water, if your toilet is leaking at the base, this can mean you need a new one, or you need to plug the leak. If this is the situation, call a plumber, as replacing a tank can be difficult to do on your own.

Step 2

Remove the lid from the back of your toilet and check to ensure the chain that lifts the rubber flapper to drain out water isn’t caught on something or detached. If it’s caught, simply unravel it and re-adjust so that it can properly lift the rubber flapper. If it‘s detached, replace it with a new one. This may fix your problem. Flush and check to see if toilet still runs, and pay attention to the flapper to see if it closes all the way.

Step 3

Take a dye tab, or some food dye, and flush your toilet. When the water begins to rise, place dye in the tank and watch water in the bowl. If water in the bowl begins to change color, this means you have a leak somewhere either in the sides of the tank, or with the rubber flapper.

Step 4

Check the flapper, and if it doesn’t close all the way, has holes or is very old, you will need to head to your hardware store and get a new one to replace it. Installation is relatively easy, so long as you follow all directions. Shut off your toilet and flush once to remove any water, then remove your old flapper, take it with you to the store, and an employee can help you find the right one.

Step 5

Replace the ballcock (float valve)in your toilet tank. Again, shut off toilet and flush to remove water, then remove the ballcock. Ballcocks are easy to install using kits from your local hardware store, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then you can hire a plumber to assist.

Step 6

After replacing the flapper, testing for leaks and replacing the ball-cock device, if your toilet is still running, chances are the entire tank needs replacing. You may want to hire a professional to fix this, as it can be a more tedious process if you don’t have plumbing experience.


  • Always seek a professional’s help if you feel you may be doing something wrong, or don’t feel you can perform a plumbing task properly, as you can end up causing more damage if you attempt to perform a task on your own.
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