Common Reasons Why Your Toilet May Be Running and How to Fix Them

What’s the number one element a toilet needs to function? Water, of course! But if water is running in your toilet on a near-constant basis, the main function it’ll be performing is expanding your water bill. Thankfully, running toilets don’t often require the expertise of a professional plumber (unless you’ve got water spraying everywhere, in which case, here’s our contact information). If you suspect your toilet is running too much, investigate the common reasons why and get to work fixing the problem.


Leaks are by far the most common reason why toilets run inefficiently and the primary culprit is the rubber seal along the bottom of the flapper. This seals the plastic at the bottom of the tank where water is released during a flush. The best way to test for a leak is to drop several drops of food coloring into the tank. If water in the bowl turns the same color, you’ve got yourself a leak.

Faulty Flapper

A toilet flapper attaches to the handle mechanism via a chain within your toilet tank and releases water during a flush. When the flapper fails or wears out, the repair is fairly simple. Head out to your local hardware store and pick up a new one. Turn off the flush valve to your toilet and disconnect the chain. Then, replace the old flapper with the new one and ensure it properly rests above the valve. Reconnect the chain and turn the flush valve back on and you’re good to go.

Damaged Fill Valve

Even if your fill valve is undamaged, it’s a wise decision to replace the fill valve whenever you replace your toilet flapper. Turn the water off and unhook the flex line by unscrewing it. You may need a wrench to turn the nut on the bottom of the valve. Replace with the new fill valve and adjust the height before replacing the nut. Add the flex line and test your handiwork.

For any other plumbing service that requires an extra set of hands or expertise beyond your own skills, contact Pioneer Plumbing and Heating in Seattle today.

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