A running toilet can drive anyone mad after enough time. While calling a professional will get you a guaranteed stop that annoying running toilet, it is not always necessary. It is possible for even a novice handy person to fix it with the right knowledge and tools.

Use this how-to guide to get you 5 stops closer to stopping your running toilet. They may not work in every case, but they’re an ideal starting point.

1. Locate Your Leak

At first glance, finding a leak may seem very straightforward. However, if you’re unable to isolate a leak and know where the issue is coming from, you’re not going to be able to fix it, even if you’re an experienced plumber.

Roll up your sleeves and start searching. In many cases, the parts listed below in points two through five are the ones causing the issues.

2. Check for a Broken Fill Valve

Your toilet gets refilled every time you flush it through a valve that lets water in. You can usually recognize a broken fill valve by a constantly running toilet and a stopper that stays submerged. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Shut off the water supply hose and remove the toilet lid. Place a bucket below the water supply valve to catch excess water.
  • Unscrew the lock nut at the bottom of the tank that holds the valve in place. Remove the entire tank valve in one piece.
  • Install the new valve in the right place – typically where the top hits about one-inch below the top of the tank. Finish by replacing the lock nut you removed.

3. How’s that Flapper?

That rubber cap that holds the water in is called a flapper. Now that you know its name, you can check to see if it’s the cause of your running toilet. Here’s how:

  • Ensure that the chain from the handle mechanism is connected to the flapper. Also, ensure that the chain is the correct length. A chain that’s too long can get stuck underneath the flapper, causing it to stay open and keep draining, and a chain that’s too short won’t allow the flapper to fully close either.
  • Flush the toilet and evaluate the flapper. Does it work as intended?
  • Adjust the flapper so it sits squarely over the drain. In many cases, an edge gets caught, preventing proper function.
  • Replace the flapper if the above steps don’t work. Most hardware stores and plumbing supply stores will have what you need.

4. Evaluate Water Levels

Inside every toilet fixture there’s a round bulb or cup that floats – well, at least it should float. If yours isn’t floating, you’ve got a water level problem. Here’s how to check and fix it:

  • Check to see if the bulb or cup is floating in a buoyant manner. You’ll also want to make sure the float hasn’t become filled with water.
  • Loosen the screw at the end of the float arm to adjust the bulb. Newer toilets may require you to make an adjustment to two screws near the fill valve.
  • Lower the float. This will work in many cases, but not all.

5. Clear Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits can cause major problems with toilets. Here’s how to check your toilet for them:

  • Take the tank lid off and check for white mineral buildup.
  • Call a pro if you see buildup. Flushing buildup is not a DIY job for homeowners.

A running toilet is a nuisance, but it doesn’t have to ruin your week. Use this guide to see if you can easily fix the problem yourself, and seek help from the pros at Bill Fenwick Plumbing if these tips don’t solve the problem.