Why Won't My Toilet Stop Running?


If your toilet won’t stop running, there’s no doubt it’s driving you crazy! Not only are you worried about paying for gallons of water that’s literally going down the drain, but you’re probably also concerned about your toilet’s condition.

As it turns out, there are three common reasons why a toilet won’t stop running:

  • Problems with the chain
  • Dirty or broken flapper
  • Float is out of position

Believe it or not, these three causes cover 99% of all running toilet problems! But before you attempt a DIY inspection and repair, however, make sure you turn off the water flowing into your toilet. In most cases, you can find the valve attached to the wall to the lower right or left of the fixture.

Toilet Flusher Chain Problems

The toilet flusher chain is a metal chain that connects the lever to the rubber flap at the bottom of your toilet tank. These chains take a beating throughout their service lives – not only are they almost entirely submerged all the time, but they take on the full force of every flush.

These factors mean that chains can detach from either the flapper or lever. If that happens, the flapper may not be able to complete the seal between your tank and the toilet bowl. This causes the toilet to run in a cycle that can last as long as there’s water on Earth.

The same can happen when chains are too short or too long. Remember that the underlying problem is that the flushing lever isn’t properly connected to the flapper via the chain, so reattaching the chain or adjusting its length should do the trick!

Dirty or Broken Flapper

When you flush your toilet, water in the bowl exits through the drain while water held in the tank pours in until it gets flushed. The rubber flapper at the bottom of your toilet tank is just like the stopper in your sink. Its job is to form a water-tight seal to separate water in the tank from water in the bowl.

It’s essential to your toilet’s function that the flapper is water-tight. If it degrades over time or gets dirty, this seal can break, allowing water to pass from your tank and into your bowl in an endless cycle.

Fixing a dirty or broke flapper is as simple as replacing it. You can find a “universal” flapper at any hardware store that should work for most toilets. If this doesn’t work for your toilet, you may need to reach out to the manufacturer or contact a professional plumber for assistance.

Toilet Float Is Out of Position

The final most common issue is when the float that controls the water level in your tank is out of position. Have you ever wondered how your toilet “knows” when to stop filling the tank? This float is the mechanism that controls that! When the float is out of position, however, your tank could be filled with too much water. This caused water to spill into the overflow tube, which begins a continuous cycle.

Check the back of your toilet tank for a fill level mark. This is as high as the water should get inside your tank to prevent overflow. Turn your water back on and let the tank fill up. Make a note of how high the water gets before it flushes and compare that to the mark on the back of the tank. Adjust the float accordingly to prevent overflow.

Contact a Plumber for Professional Assistance

Fixing a running toilet isn’t easy, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you think you need assistance with repairing a toilet that won’t stop running, our professional plumbers at Carter Quality Plumbing, LLC can help.

For more information or to request an appointment, call (803) 998-2270 now!