A blocked toilet is one problem, but a toilet that keeps running, even if it’s only a slow trickle can be very annoying! A small trickle can even be heard at night, when your home is quiet and everyone is asleep – you can still hear the relentless stream of water sliding down into the toilet bowl. After a few days of this, you have had enough!

It’s not only the annoying sound that can be a problem, it’s also the useless waste of water and the additional cost to your water bills. So even if it’s a slow monotonous trickle of water, it still needs to be fixed. You can of course call in a plumber to fix a running toilet, but if you are into DIY, it’s also something that you might be able to repair yourself.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to fix a running toilet.

Check the flapper valve

First of all, you need to turn off the water to the toilet and empty the cistern by flushing it. Next you need to find the reason for the running water, so locate the flapper value and make sure that it’s not blocked or perished.

The flapper valve is the single most likely cause of a running toilet and it’s a small disk-shaped rubber valve at the bottom of the cistern, covering the exit of the pipe that goes into the toilet. One way to verify that it’s the flapper is to press down on this valve and see if the water stops running. It could be wedged open by something or not aligned properly over the exit hole or it could be coated in debris. If cleaning it or realigning it doesn’t fix the problem, then you will need to replace it with new.

When the flapper valve has been re-seated, make sure that the chain between the flapper and the handle arm is attached correctly. It needs enough slack so that when the toilet is flushed, the flapper lifts to allow water to enter the toilet from the cistern.

Check the float ball

If it’s not the flapper, then it’s likely that the float ball is not sitting at the right level, causing water to be pushed down the pipe into the toilet. The way to test for this is to pull up on the float and if the water stops running – you’ve found your problem. The fix depends on the type of toilet you have in your home, but essentially, there should be a float adjustment screw on top of the fill valve, at the opposite end to the ball float. Adjust this until you can’t see or hear the water running any more.

Check for a leaking fill valve

This is a long tubular piece that sits just below the float adjustment screw and is often the cause of a running toilet. This valve can be blocked with debris or particles, preventing it from closing completely, resulting in the tank continuing to fill and leak into the bowl. Sometimes the internal washer needs to be replaced, because it’s perished, but more often than not, the entire valve needs to be replaced. This is an easy DIY fix and shouldn’t take too long to complete – if you want to do it yourself.

Need help fixing a running toilet? Call Red Dog Plumbing on 0418 532 134