Why Does My Toilet Keep Running and How Can I Fix It?

We’ve all heard that annoying sound of leaking water deep in the night and asked ourselves: “Why does my toilet keep running?” It is a problem known to everyone, and unfortunately, it is hard to avoid.

How do you fix a toilet that keeps running?
If a ball float is stuck in the up position, you will need to unscrew the cap and pull up on the ball to release it. If your toilet keeps running, there are a few things you can do to fix it. If the float arm is lowered, you can loosen or tighten the screw to fix it. If the column float is attached to the fill valve, you can loosen the screw or clip, push down the float, and then tighten everything back up again. If the ball float is stuck in the up position, you will need to unscrew the cap and pull up on the ball to release it.

But don’t worry, as further, you can find out why there can be any leaks in your toilet, and how to fix them. Spoiler: it is pretty easy.

Reasons Why Your Toilet Can Keep Running

If your toilet keeps running after the flush, there are multiple reasons why it can be happening: problems with the flapper, gasket, or float height. All of them can be located immediately and don’t require too much time to repair. The process of dealing with each you can explore is below.

Having a Misplaced Flapper

The flapper can be one of the most important reasons why your toilet keeps running. It is a complicated mechanism that doesn’t let the water go through the flush valve when the tank is filling with water.

Its work is simple: when you flush the toilet, it goes up and lets the water pour into the bowl, and then it goes down and restricts any further leakage.

When you buy a new toilet, the flapper can be accidentally broken in the factory, or the detail can simply have a defect. It is vital to check this part of the mechanism before buying a new toilet because if you encounter such a flaw, you will be dealing with a leaking toilet for quite a while.

The good news is that it is fairly simple to fix your flapper or find a new one. The flapper can be misplaced, thus don’t restrict the water going into the bowl completely, that’s why a leakage appears. Shut off the water source and flush the toilet, and then try adjusting the flapper to fully cover the seal.

If your toilet keeps running, it can mean that a float that’s attached to the flapper lost its sealing and drowns, and that leads to the flapper not closing tightly.

Usually, the float keeps at a certain level, and, when it reaches the refilling point, it closes the flapper, not allowing any water to slip through. If this happens, your best option is to call a plumber to get him to fix the leakage, or you can go by to a specialized store with a broken float and buy a new one and then change it.

Float Height Adjustments

If you find your toilet still running after the water is turned off, you might need to consider checking the float height adjustment. It can change due to the length of the chain that is attached to the flapper, or the tank leveler being positioned wrong.

Pull the lid from your toilet and observe the movement of the float on the water level. It is supposed to be right on the surface; the float pulls the chain with it and closes the flapper.

If the chain is too long or too short, you might need to buy a new one or adjust a present one to the right water level. Upon refilling the tank, the float should fully stretch the chain and close the flapper when it reaches the current water level. Watch the tank for a couple of minutes, and if this didn’t solve the problem, then the leakage could appear for a different reason.

toilet float

Changing a Refiling Tube

It is tough to deal with the question of “why is my toilet constantly running,” but don’t get upset, as we can try to help you solve this mystery. We’ve tried dealing with the flapper, and if that didn’t help, you can move on to inspecting a refiling tube.

This detail is the main part of the tank that supplies it with water. If something happens to the tube, your toilet can start leaking, or on the contrary, the tank doesn’t refill. Get a look under the toilet lid and observe the refilling tube when you flush the toilet.

The detail can have cracks or defects in the coating; you will see a little stream of water trickle from the surface, not allowing the tank to refill fully. In this case, your best option would be to find a spare detail and call a plumber. To fix such a leak, you need to shut off the water and flush the tank so it stays empty.

There also can be problems with the refilling tube not being tightly connected to the water source — this might also cause leakage, but not into the bowl of the toilet, but outside.

If you spot a little puddle in your bathroom, you might need to check whether the sealing on the refilling tube is intact. Getting your feet wet when you come into the room is certainly not something you would want to experience.

toilet refiling tube

Cleaning Spare Details

We have already covered some of the reasons that can lead to the water leaking, but if the question “why does my toilet keep running” still haunts you at night, there might be other parts of the mechanism you have to look at.

A toilet is a complicated construction, and its details always work together to bring out the synchronized result. Any flaws in the parts can end up being the reason for your toilet leaking.

It can be hard to keep your toilet fully clean and don’t allow any rust to slip in, but you should remember that in plumbing, any small piece of trash can be the root of the problem. In the tank, there are a lot of details that can get overgrown minerals on them from the water, they can restrict the water going through or push the detail away from its natural place.

If that happens, you should shut off the water source and get the part out of the toilet for a closer look. A clean toilet means a working toilet, and that is all that we want. Of course, it can be troublesome to always check on the mechanism, but you can be sure that it will pay off in the end.

Toilet leaks can also appear if the flushing mechanism has some defect in it – the button keeps falling in or jamming. Take a glance under the lead and see if the mechanism is in its socket. It is easy to fix such a problem: you just put it back in and try flushing again.

The button should return to its original place, and then your leakage is fixed. This type of problem can reappear with time, as the flushing mechanism is constantly in use and gets old.

Gasket Problems

The gasket is an incredibly important part of the toilet mechanism that doesn’t allow the water to slip into the bowl. It surrounds the flapper and is usually made of elastic material like rubber. If there are some flaws in the gasket, you may hear your toilet constantly running, which is definitely not the best experience.

The material can be damaged in the factory, or it can suffer from deteriorating in a bad environment if the water contains too many heavy metals or minerals. Unfortunately, the only way you can fix this problem is by buying a new gasket and changing it yourself or with the help of a plumber.

The gasket can also slip from its place or lose its sealing if the toilet is not properly installed. Therefore, you should pay close attention when getting a new toilet.

Always check the flush mechanism beforehand and ask for the repair warranty. Running water is not something anyone would want to hear deep in the night.

toilet gasket


Is it bad if my toilet keeps running?

Toilet runs periodically, so you should not worry if it happens to you. There are different ways to fix the leakage if it appears, and it won’t cause too much trouble.

Why does my toilet run in the middle of the night?

The most common reasons why your toilet won’t stop running are problems with the gasket, flapper, or wrong float height.

Why is my toilet still running after replacing the flapper?

If your toilet is still leaking when you’ve replaced the flapper, you might consider checking the gasket in your tank or trying to adjust the float height of the said flapper.

Also read:

Fixing Your Toilet Takes Time

Toilet running water can be an annoying thing to deal with, but there are easy ways to make this problem go away. Keep a close eye on the details of your equipment, and be sure to make regular checkups, so there won’t be any leakage.

Did this guide help you find the reason for your toilet running? What other advice would you like to know about plumbing? Please, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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