• Repairing a Running Toilet


    A running toilet is a common problem we’ve all run into. The sound of the water running is a real nuisance.
    If you use a well, you might also hear the pump shutting on and off at all hours of the day. If you use metered water, a running toilet can quickly add $100 or more to your water bill.
    The good news is that the fix isn’t that complicated, and many of you will be able to make the repair. If you prefer to have a professional do the work, a plumber or a handyman would be the right choice.

    Running Toilet Repair and Troubleshooting Tips

    This home repair guide will give you tips about the job that will help you decide whether to attempt the work yourself or call a professional.
    We include a tools and supplies list with the tips, so you’ll know what to gather together, buy or borrow before getting started. In addition, we include costs for repairing a running toilet whether it’s a DIY or professional fix.

    Below, you’ll also find helpful links to pages that provide additional information including videos of how to stop the toilet from running…and running…and running.

    There are two main culprits when the toilet continues to run: The flapper and the float.
    Here’s an overview of each problem and its repair. Start by taking off the lid of the toilet and setting it somewhere it won’t fall and break.

    • The float is designed to stop water from filling the tank following each flush
    • When the float is improperly adjusted, it won’t do its job, and water will continue to fill the tank, go down the overflow tube and into the bowl
    • If you see water going into the overflow, adjust the float, so that it shuts off the water when it is about a half-inch to one inch from the top of the overflow pipe
    • If water is NOT going down the overflow pipe, the flapper is likely not seating correctly
    • The flapper is the ball or flap that covers the valve/hole leading from the tank down into the toilet
    • When the toilet is flushed, the flapper rises to let water down before closing to, ideally, sealing off the hole so excess water doesn’t run…run…run
    • Flappers get brittle and may deteriorate with age, so inspect it for damage
    • If it’s obviously damaged or more than five years old, it should be replaced
    • Turn off the water to the toilet and flush it
    • Check to see if the flapper chain is getting caught beneath the flapper, allowing water to escape, and if it is, shorten the chain using wire snips
    • If the chain isn’t the issue, unhook the flapper from the chain that lifts it and from its mount on the bottom of the tank
    • Take the flapper to the hardware/home improvement store, and get a suitable replacement

    If you still have issue with your toilet running or making noise, you may need to replace the flange which is a more time consuming project but can be done yourself.

    Cost to Fix a Running Toilet

    These repair costs for a running toilet will be a factor in whether you try the repair yourself or call a plumber. The good news is that if you try the repair and it doesn’t work, you likely won’t make it worse (and more expensive to fix).

    DIY Toilet Repair: The parts you might need are not expensive. A flapper costs $4 to $7, though it’s worth buying a good-quality one to keep this problem away for several years. Even if the entire float assembly has to be replaced, the cost for the part should be less than $20.

    Plumber Costs for a Running Toilet: It might take a plumber ten minutes to repair your toilet, but he or she is likely going to charge you a service call minimum of $100 or more.

    How to Save Money on Plumbing Repairs

    Calling a handyman might save you 25 to 40 percent over calling a certified plumber. You’ll save money too by getting estimates from several different repair companies and comparing rates. They should be able to give you a pretty clear idea of their cost over the phone.

    Running Toilet Repair Resources

    You’ll find more helpful information on these sites to help you solve this annoying problem.

    LuQuire – Here’s how to identify exactly what is causing the toilet to continue to run.

    Bay Plumbing Supply – Is your toilet running continuously or just once in a while? This site tells you what each problem means.

    Rosen Management – This page offers an excellent diagram of the parts inside a standard toilet tank.



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