Why Is My Toilet Running Constantly/Randomly?

First off, if you hear your toilet “running” it’s most likely the sound of water filling the toilet tank. It’s normal for your toilet to run anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds after a flush.

But, if your toilet runs non-stop, whether you’ve recently flushed or not, you most likely have one of these 4 problems:

  1. A bad flapper
  2. A flapper chain that’s too tight
  3. Tank water level is set too high
  4. Faulty fill tube

We’ll show you how to troubleshoot for your particular problem and what you can fix vs. what a professional needs to fix.

Need a plumber to fix this now? Just contact us and we’ll send a professional over right away.

1. A bad flapper

Your toilet flapper is a round, rubber “seal” that controls when water moves from the toilet tank to the toilet bowl. Usually, a chain connects the flapper and the toilet handle. So, when the toilet handle is pressed down, the chain lifts the flapper up, allowing water to pour into the toilet bowl.

But over time, that flapper can deteriorate, become brittle and crack or sediment can grow on the flapper. In these situations, the flapper isn’t able to fully seal off the water. This results in a slow water leak from the toilet tank, which then forces your toilet fill tube to slowly and constantly fill the toilet tank.

What to do: Inspect your flapper. If it’s cracked, deteriorating or is slightly mushy, you’ll need to replace the flapper. Think you can handle this on your own? Just follow these steps to a DIY flapper replacement. Otherwise, we suggest having a professional handle this for a quick, stress-free repair.

2. A flapper chain that’s too tight

Your flapper is connected to the handle on your toilet by a chain. But if that chain is too tight, it prevents the flapper from making a complete seal. This causes a slow leak and forces your fill tube to constantly refill the toilet tank.

What to do: Remove the lid from your toilet and inspect the chain that connects the toilet handle and the flapper. Make sure there is enough slack in the chain to allow the flapper to completely seal the small hole in the bottom of your toilet tank. See the image above for the correct amount of slack on a flapper chain.

Note: Be sure there also isn’t too much slack as this can also cause a toilet to run constantly if the chain gets stuck between the flapper and the hole it needs to seal.

If the chain is too tight, you can adjust it by removing the pin from the chain and placing it lower on the chain, making it slightly shorter. Need help adjusting your toilet flapper chain? Just contact us and we can send a professional to handle this for you in a matter of minutes.

3. The water level in the toilet tank is too high

The “fill tube” is responsible for refilling the tank behind your toilet after every flush. This tube is connected to the main water supply. As the water level in the tank rises, a float lifts and eventually shuts off the water. Your float can be adjusted to shut off the flow of water at different levels.

So, if your float is adjusted to shut off water at a level that is “too high”, water will constantly drain into the “overflow” tube, which can make it sound like your toilet is constantly running.

What to do: Take the lid off the toilet tank and watch the overflow tube (usually the tube connected to the flapper). If water constantly drains into this tank, your water level is set too high and you’ll need a professional to adjust the water level.

4. A faulty fill tube

If you don’t have flapper problems and the water level in the toilet tank is appropriate, you most likely have problems with your fill tube.

What to do: Have a professional inspect the fill tube and repair or replace it.

Need help from a Florida plumber?

If you still need help fixing a toilet that runs constantly, just contact us.

We’ll send over a plumber right away that can get your toilet back to normal operation in no time.