Get Nrdly Free Trial Built with Nrdly

How to Fix a Running Toilet

How do you fix a running toilet? 

If you’re like me then this problem drives you bonkers. But fortunately, the solutions are super simple.

And you need only 3 tools (Phillips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, & wire snips) and 15 minutes to do this project.

You’ll also reduce your water bill in the process which is always nice.

Hey, that’s money you could use toward the movies – who doesn’t love Paul Rudd? (And he’s a Steeler’s Fan, booyah!!)

Alright, enough with the movie references let’s get your toilet fixed and stop your water bills from skyrocketing.


Toilet Anatomy and Physiology: Good Stuff to Know That’ll Impress Friends

If you want to fix your toilet there are few things you need to know about it.

You’re gonna get pretty up close and comfortable with it. So knowing a toilet tank’s anatomy is kind of important.

Toilets have a fill valve, flush valve, and flapper.

Fill valves (you guessed it) fill the toilet tank with water. Here in the states they’re located on the left of the tank and have a water supply line connected to them.

Fill Valve

Fill valves also have some type of float that goes up or down. When you flush the toilet water leaves the tank and goes down into the bowl.

The float drops. Then the fill valve refills the tank with water and the float rises along with the water level. At a certain point, the float will stop and trigger the fill valve to stop the refill process.

Flush valves are in the center of the tank. When you flush a toilet the flapper rises and allows water to leave the toilet tank via the flush valve and go down into the toilet bowl.

Flush Valve

The sudden rush and weight of the water leaving the tank moves the pee or poo (just keeping it real) from the toilet bowl and into your home’s sewer pipes.

Now you know the basic function of your toilet.

Don’t be grossed out by the water in the tank. It should be clean. Unless you have a chlorine cleaning tablet in the tank. In which case the water has chlorine in it.

As a side note, I don’t recommend you put cleaning tablets in the tank because they can corrode the tank’s parts and CREATE leaks!!

Culprit #1: Old FLAPPERS

Every time I say flapper it just cracks me up. I mean who came up with the name (if you know the answer add it to the comments).

Nonetheless, this little piece of rubber that sits on the flush valve can go bad very easily. Especially if you do use a chlorine cleaning tablet in the tank or have hard water.

The flapper creates a seal with the top of the flush valve. If this seal is bad then water will leak from the tank.


If water leaks from the tank, the float on the fill valve will go down until it triggers the fill valve to refill the tank with water.

This problem is easy to fix.

You need to remove the flapper and inspect it for any humps (don’t laugh, this is the best description I could come up).

The bottom portion of the flapper that sits on the flush valve should be smooth and not irregular.

Identify what brand of toilet you have: American Standard, Kohler, etc.

Turn the shut-off valve clockwise. This turns off the water supply to your toilet.

Flush the toilet and hold down the handle until most of the water is gone. Then remove the flapper and take it to the hardware store with you.

Buy a new flapper that fits your brand of the toilet and matches the one you’re holding in your hand. It’ll cost about $5.

Replace the Flapper

Super cheap.

Easy to do.

Will stop a running toilet.

Culprit #2: Long Flapper Chains

I’m a fan of Mr. T but long chains aren’t cool in toilet tanks.

When you flush a toilet the handle is connected to the flapper with a chain.

Sometimes this chain is WAAAAAAY too long.

And as a consequence, the chain gets stuck between the flapper and the flush valve. Thus, the flapper can’t create a good seal with the flush valve, and water leaks from the tank.

Trim Long Chains

Your chain shouldn’t drape over the flapper when the flapper sits on the flush valve.

To solve this problem move the clip that connects the chain to the toilet handle further down the chain. This will reduce the length of the chain. You can then cut off the excess chain with wire snips.

Culprit #3: Too Much Water in the Tank

If your tank always sounds like water is draining from it chances are the tank’s water level is too high.

The ideal water level in your tank should be 1/2 to 1 inch below the overflow pipe. Make a mark on the overflow pipe with a Sharpie marker to indicate the maximum water level in the tank.

You change the water level in your tank by adjusting the float on the fill valve.

There are several different types of floats. All you need to know is that if you raise the float you raise the water level in the toilet tank. If you lower the float you’ll lower the water level in your tank.

In my video, I show you how to adjust three different kinds of floats. I think you’ll like the video because it’ll walk you through this adjustment as well as the prior two fixes discussed above.

Some floats have a screw that can be turned counterclockwise.

This lowers the float down into the tank’s water.

Other floats have plastic hollow balls on the end of their float arms.

You can bend metal float arms to get the float further down into the tank water.

Sometimes though, the float arms are plastic. In this case I’d bet my kids piggy bank money you can adjust a screw on the fill valve that’ll get the float lower.

And in turn, your tank’s water level won’t overflow into the overflow pipe.

Culprit #4:  Bad Fill Valves

If you’ve tried all these fixes and you STILL have a toilet tank that runs then replace the fill valve.

This costs all of $10.

Replace Fill Valves

And it’s way easier than you think. Although the directions for most fill valves are PAINFUL to read.

Would it kill the manufacturers to throw in a joke or two?

Replacing a toilet fill valve takes 10-15 and will save you $50 to $75.

Alright, these are 4 ways to fix a toilet that keeps on running.

I wanted to share them with you so that you don’t feel overwhelmed when doing this repair.

Here’s a supply list to help you out

Trust me, eventually, you’ll hear a toilet run in your house. It’s like Murphy’s Law, if it can happen it will and likely on Sunday during a holiday weekend when plumbers are on vacation and you’re entertaining house guests.

Before I forget here’s a quick story. One of my tenants called last fall and said he kept hearing the toilet run. So ran over to the house and checked it out. I don’t know how long this was happening but the flapper somehow developed a nice bump in it. As a consequence, the water in the tank kept leaking into the bowl.

Needless to say, the water bill for that month was $116. 

Yeah, I almost fell over because the bill is typically around $25.

What’s Next

Learning how to install a water shut-off valve is equally important – replace old valves if they don’t work.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Fix Running Toilets

  1. Mark J says:

    Here’s a good tip I found: You can easily check for small leaks by adding some food coloring to the water in the tank and see if it makes its way down into your bowl!

    1. That is a good one Mark. Thanks for adding that to the discussion.

      Dang, you’re on top of things.

    2. Bruce Tuxhorn says:

      And…. if the toilet bowl fill tube, located in the overflow tube, happens to be below the water level in the tank, the water will siphon back through the fill valve to the level of the fill tube. Check this tube length if your colored water in the tank is not going in the bowl, yet water continues to enter the bowl.

  2. Lillace Christianson says:

    SUPER tutorial!!! Thanks and Merry Christmas to you and your family. I’m off to conquer!

    1. Thank you Lillace, I know you’ll kick some major toilet butt!! Hope you have a fantastic Christmas too ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Patti says:

    Thanks so much for your helpful information. I enjoy your tutorials. I’ve worked on several toilets through the years. Recently my mother’s toilet blew the fill tube right out of the overflow and was spraying water everywhere. After adjusting the pressure by turning down the incoming water valve, I was putting everything back in place when I noticed something I don’t really understand. All the pictures of how the workings in the tank go together show the fill tube attached to the overflow tube so that the water runs into the overflow tube. On hers, if I do it that way, it never fills. If I attach it to the overflow tube so the fill tube runs the water right into the tank all seems to work fine (other than the fact that the new toilet parts have a very weak plastic clip for this tube). What am I missing here?

    Thanks again for sharing your experience.

    1. Good job getting the toilet back working Patti. I’d have to take a look at your exact setup. If you’d like you can send me some pictures at [email protected]

      But if I had to guess, it sounds like the fill valve is not working correctly. And this is why the tank doesn’t fill up with water.

      Send me a picture or two and we’ll get this mystery figured out together ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Michele says:

    Speaking of toilets, can you tell me why the stuff (poo, toilet paper) does not always go down the toilet. I have a regular toilet not a low flow one. Also sometimes when I flush it, there is a bubble in the bowl. Thanks for any advice.

    1. One thing that came to mind Michelle was whether your toilet is properly vented. All plumbing fixtures should be vented to the outside of your home. This helps the water drain properly.

      And if your toilet or sink are not vented then draining becomes a bit harder. You can check for venting by going outside and taking a look at your roof. You’ll likely see a 3 inch pipe and some 2 inch pipes coming up from the roof. These are venting pipes connected to your waste system.

      If you don’t see these you’ll have to work with a plumber to get the proper setup. There are a few different options you can explore though for venting.

      Hope this helps explain the toilet problem ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Patrick says:

    My copper water line extends about 4 inches inside the tank of my toilet. I had to buy a new fill valve. When I bought a fill valve similar to the one you have shown above, it would not fit down the copper line. The line is too long, but I finally found one that works. Secondly, I wanted to replace the two plastic nuts and seal underneath the fill valve but because the water line extends up into the tank, I cannot remove the old ones. What should I do? Thanks for your help in advance!!

    1. Great job Patrick on figuring out the fill valve.

      I’ve never seen a configuration like this but you might be able to use a basic wrench to access the nuts. A basic wrench costs about $15 and can be found at every hardware store known to man.

      Let me know if you’ve already tried this and we’ll figure out something else.

  6. mary says:

    So I have a Toto toilet that doesn’t “run” all the time, but instead sounds like it is filling with water every 45 minutes or so. It’s just a 5 second sound of running water, but it is constant throughout day and night. Any ideas how to stop it?

    1. Start with replacing the flapper Mary and if that doesn’t work try switching out the fill valve. Often times these two are the culprit for those phantom flushes.

      The flapper will cost $5 and the fill valve maybe $10-$20. Make sure you buy a flapper and fill valve that work for Toto.

      Hope this helps.

      1. David says:

        Is there a particular brand fill valve you recommend?

      2. John says:

        reply to chain:
        So I have a Toto toilet that doesnโ€™t โ€œrunโ€ all the time, but instead sounds like it is filling with water every 45 minutes or so. Itโ€™s just a 5 second sound of running water, but it is constant throughout day and night. Any ideas how to stop it?

        Jeff Patterson
        Start with replacing the flapper Mary and if that doesnโ€™t work try switching out the fill valve. Often times these two are the culprit for those phantom flushes.

        The flapper will cost $5 and the fill valve maybe $10-$20. Make sure you buy a flapper and fill valve that work for Toto.

        Hope this helps.

        John (no pun intended):
        One of our Toto toilets began to โ€œphantom flushโ€ as you described it. I replaced the flapper but the problem remained, albeit less frequently. I replaced the new flapper with a โ€œuniversalโ€ one with an adjustable fill-rate ring. The ring either covered or exposed 1 or more small holes in the portion of the flapper that descends into the tank drain. When the ring was positioned to block all holes, the slow phantom leak continued. I decided to adjust the ring to expose one hole. This allowed water to temporarily fill the flapper cavity. It solved the problem.
        My theory is that the first replacement flapper retained air in the hollow portion (during tank draining) for too long a period and therefore had close to neutral buoyancy. The flapper thus descended too slowly through the water in the tank as it was filling. This resulted in poorer initial seating / sealing / centering by the flapper. In any case, even if my theory โ€œdoesnโ€™t hold waterโ€, the problem is solved.

  7. Sara says:

    Hi. I’m going to be brave and try to replace the flapper myself to try to solve my running toilet. I’m not real confident in how to exactly do this. Does it snap on & snap off? Do I need to attach the chain to something? Any specific info you give me will be useful. Also, I’m going on a vacation soon. Is it safe to shut off the water supply to the toilet for over 1 week at a time? I’d rather have it turned off so that I don’t need to worry about it possibly running the entire time I’m gone…..Thanks! Sara ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Sara, you can turn off the water to the toilet and shouldn’t have any issues. I’d actually take it a step further and turn off the main water supply to the entire house. That’s actually what I do when we go on vacation (just in case a pipe bursts!!!)

      The flapper snaps onto the two pegs on the overflow pipe in the center of the toilet tank. Then the chain attaches to the toilet tank handle’s arm. You’ll have to adjust the flapper chain so that it doesn’t get caught between the flapper and the flush valve.

      Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Tyler says:

        Can I shut off my water valve that runs to my toilet for the night?

        1. You can Tyler, but is it running all day?

  8. Christy says:

    Help! My toilet keeps running no matter what. First I changed the flapper. Then I replaced the fill valve, the flapper, even installed a flapper repair kit just to be positive that the flapper sealed. It still ran. Had a plumber come out 3 times. He replaced the flapper (for the 3rd & 4th times) and changed out the overflow tube. It still runs! The water level is 1″ below the top of the overflow tube. New fill valve doesn’t have a ball float, so that can’t be the problem. What else can I do other than change out the whole toilet?

    1. Wow, you’ve done all the steps I recommend Christy. I’m scratching my head on this one. I wonder if you have a small leak where the bolts tighten the tank to the bowl. But you’d likely see some water on or around the back of the toilet.

      If you’re totally frustrated then go ahead and replace the entire toilet. I do like the American Standard line and they’re not terribly expensive. For around $159 you can get a great toilet that flushes quietly and works like a champ.

      Please let me know though if you feel water around the tank bolts because I’ve got a bonus tip for you.

      1. Melanie says:

        I have the same problem as Christy: a plumber replaced the fill valve (charging me a small fortune) and claimed our high water pressure was the culprit, wanting to install a pressure-reducing valve for a cool $700!! We have two other toilets in the house, both American Standard (this one is a Kohler), and no problem, so I find it extremely hard to believe our water pressure is to blame! My husband replaced the (already new) flapper and still it runs. We turned off the water to the tank at the inlet as it was driving us both crazy and over a period of hours, the entire tank emptied itself so there’s clearly a leak somewhere – any suggestions where else we could check? The outside of the tank is completely dry, there is no water dripping onto the floor, and none passing through the toilet bowl. It’s a mystery, but any suggestion would be welcome before I a) call the plumber back or b) have to replace the whole toilet.

        1. Sorry to hear about your experience with your plumber Melanie.

          You might have high water pressure but even if that were the case a water pressure regulator should cost less than $200 (in most situations) to replace or install. Water pressure should be between 60-80 psi and you can check it with a $10 gauge that home stores carry.

          Now for your toilet.

          I wonder if the seal on the flush valve is bad. It appears as though water is leaking from the tank to the toilet. So I’d replace the flush valve if you already replaced the flapper. Make sure to get a flush valve for your specific toilet brand. And yes, you’ll have to take the tank off the bowl but it’s far more cost effective to do this yourself than call in a plumber ๐Ÿ˜€

          Keep me posted and let me know if you have any questions.

          1. Melanie says:

            Thanks Jeff
            My husband has now replaced every part inside the tank, and has intimate working knowledge of how it all comes apart and goes back together. And still it runs … Less than before, but enough, and frequently enough, to drive us crazy. At our wits end, calling in a plumber or replacing the whole toilet may now be the only option.

  9. Thanks so much – we just replaced the flappers (yuk yuk … that word cracks me up, too!) and our 12 year old toilets are as good as new!

    1. Flapper is a funny word, lol.

      Glad to hear your toilets run like new ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Sisi says:

    Thanks for helping me solve our toilet problem! Your directions were not only helpful but considering the subject matter it was painless and fun to watch.

    1. You’re so nice Sisi, thanks for your kind words.

      Who knew toilets could be so fun ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Joyce says:

    Thanks so much! As a college student I think I’m on my way getting a plumbing licenses on the side thanks to you!

    1. You go Joyce, you’re obviously a hard worker. If you learn plumbing you’ll always be in demand. Homes need plumbers or good DIYers.

  12. Mary OBrie says:

    I have a Toto toilet and have never has any problems with it. Of late after flushing it refills the tank in a stop and start fashion with a ? sound . After filling all ok. What has caused the flow change from continuous to a stop and start fill pattern?

    1. If the tank is older Mary you might need to replace the fill valve. Not a big problem. Just make sure the new fill valve is for your Toto model.

  13. Andrea says:

    Thank you so much! I am so glad I found this website and video. Our toilet has been running on and off every 5 min for months now. Our landlord sucks and always gives us a hard time when it comes to repairs on the house, so we were hesitant to tell him. After the outrageous water bill we just got I decided to google “help my tiolet keeps running”, which lead me here! I’m mad at my self for not finding you earlier! It was easy to diagnose this as a flapper problem, and $6 later, it is replaced and my toilet no longer runs. Thank you for teaching me something, and saving me a ton of money!

    1. You totally made me smile Andrea. I’m so happy that I was able to help you with your toilet. Believe me, I know how expensive a running toilet can be!!!

      Please let me know if I can help in any other way. I’d be more than happy to lend a hand ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. David says:

    My Toto toilet doesn’t keep running, it just sounds like it is dying as the water shuts off. How do I stop the screech (?)

    1. That sounds like a fill valve issue for sure David. The fill valve shouldn’t cost much and is pretty easy to install. Just get one specifically for a Toto and you’ll be good to go.

  15. Hadi says:

    Hi Jeff

    My 6 month old toilet keeps running every 5 minutes. although the flapper didn’t have any “humps” I changed it to try to fix the problem. unfortunately it didn’t solve the problem. I observed the water level in the tank and it does indeed go down, which makes me think that the valve is working properly. where is my water leaking from??!!

    note: when I looked into the overflow tube the water I noticed the water at the bottom is always “slowly moving/vibrating” as if drops of water are dripping down

    1. Hmmm Hadi, it could be the seal between the flush valve and toilet tank itself. But your toilet is so new!!

      Unfortunately you’d have to pull the tank off the bowl and tighten the flush valve, but not too tight. You could break the tank.

      Do you notice any water on the floor. The reason I ask is to determine if the water is leaking from the tank bolts.

  16. Chris says:

    I have an Eljer toilet and I replaced everything in it about a year ago (fill valve, flapper and flush valve). It just started running very slowly again — about a 2 second re-fill every 5 minutes. I replaced the flapper but it’s still running at the same rate. Wondering if it’s maybe a worn seal between the tank and the flush valve? There’s no water on the floor or outside of the toilet, but from my basic plumbing knowledge, there wouldn’t be if that was bad right? When I do put colored tablets in the tank, it eventually does end up in the bowl.
    Just trying to get to the bottom of it before I go out and replace everything again (or just buy a new toilet!) Thanks for the help!

    1. I agree with you Chris and think the flush valve seal could be bad.

      But check to make sure there’s no irregularity in the flapper. If you have hard water the flapper could go bad over a years time.

      When you replace the flush valve seal make sure to get one for Eljer toilets. Keep me posted.

  17. bobby (austin, tx) says:

    Had a question regarding a dual flush toilet. Toilet flushes fine but water keeps running. It sounds like its about to stop the flush cycle but then after the float goes up, water keeps filling and it goes past the fill line into the overfill pipe and just keeps going in there. But there doesnt appear to be a leak of any sort. I raised the float but it keeps running and even water is filled where the flapper is. Do i need to replace the fill valve and flapper? Never really done any toilet work.

    1. Hey Bobby, your problem does sound like a fill valve issue.

      I recommend buying a fill valve that’s compatible with your brand, e.g. Toto, American Standard, Kohler.

      It should cost about $10-$18 and you can totally do this repair. Let me know if you have questions ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Melinda G says:

    Thanks so much, Jeff! Your video and tutorial are so helpful! I got a courtesy notice from our water department of high water usage and flipped out but then realized it was our toilet in the basement (which gets used once in a blue moon). Sure enough, it’s running, and your video was so helpful in figuring out how to stop it! Thanks!!

    1. Oh my gosh, those notices are so scary. I hope your bill isn’t too high Melinda.

      Glad the video helped you out ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Connie says:

    Thank you! My husband fixed something on or toilet around two or so years ago. I don’t even remember what the issue was then. Since that time, our toilet has been running non stop. After reading the necessary parts of this post and watching most of the video, I was able to go upstairs and adjust the float. I still think we need a new flapper, which I am going to have my husband pick up before he comes home; but our toilet should be working properly by tonight.

    1. Wonderful Connie. Running toilets drive us all a little nuts. So I hope it doesn’t run anymore.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. kim says:

    I just found your site, it’s really good and I appreciate the humor. Anyway my husband was being driven crazy with our running toilet and couldn’t figure out why it was running. I forwarded your article and he checked the flapper and sure enough there were several bubbles or blisters in the rubber. Don’t know how that happened because it’s a new toilet. Anyway, he replaced the flapper and it doesn’t run anymore! Thanks!

    1. Awesome Kim!!!

      It’s weird how the flappers just go bad after a short period of time. Probably a water thing.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. I’d be happy to help ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. Sat says:

    OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH! I finally fixed my mom’s annoying toilet after two months I can finally stop switching off the water directly from the valve. Thanks a bunch!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That’s FANTASTIC Sat!!!!

      Glad to hear the video helped you and your Mom ๐Ÿ˜€

      Let me know if you ever have other questions. I’d be happy to help.

  22. Kristy says:

    I replaced all the “guts” in my toilet tank a little over a year ago and had no problems until a couple of weeks ago when all of the sudden the toilet started running. I checked the tank and the chain was catching under the flapper. (why it hadn’t done so before is a mystery )
    I shortened the chain to the absolute shortest it could be and still allow the flapper to seal and still it runs sometimes. What’s up with that?

    1. You know what Kristy, it could be a deformity in the flapper. Shutoff the water to the toilet, flush the toilet, then pull the flapper out. Check the bottom of the flapper for a ridge or bump. If you see one that indicates water is leaking into the flush valve. If that’s the case, the water will slowly leak out of the tank into the bowl. This will trigger your float and water will run to fill up the tank.

      Let me know what you find out.

  23. Josh says:

    Just replaced the fill valve due to water that kept running. Before I put the new valve in I twisted it because the direction seemed to show that’s how it adjusts, but it adjusts with a screw. The tank is still running and I know it’s the fill valve. My guess is by twisting it I ruined it. The flapper isn’t leaking because when I turn the water off the sound stops when the tank is full.

    1. It’s possible Josh you did damage the fill valve. They’re only a few bucks so it wouldn’t hurt to get another one and try it out.

      The directions kinda stink on fill valves so dan’t be too hard on yourself ๐Ÿ˜€

  24. Kelli says:

    Thanks Jeff! The culprit for all 3 of my toilets was that the float ball was too high. It was kind of weird though, because the running toilet problem only started a few days ago, and it was happening in all 3 of my toilets! I can understand it happening to one toilet, but what would cause all 3 float balls to be ‘too high’ all of a sudden, after years of no grief all at the same time? Not sure if this was a temporary fix, but I adjusted the screw by turning left as you suggested in your video, which lowered the float ball(s), and so far so good. Thanks again, Jeff!

    1. It is a bit odd that all three were off a bit. Although, if they were installed at the same time I suppose the up and down action of the float could cause the float to raise over time at the same rate.

      But at least you know how to fix it ๐Ÿ˜€

      Great job Kelli

  25. Anna H says:

    Thanks, Jeff. The overflow valve on our toilet was a bit different: there was a “pinch valve” that adjusted the float elevator. Once I saw your video about the elevator type (I’m ‘older’ and only knew about the balloon type), I figured out where to look. No more running water driving us crazy and don’t have to have landlord come back after he fixed the broken plastic handle parts and a chain… I had temporarily fixed the broken chain and broken handle problems in both the master bathroom and the hall/guest bathroom with several strands of DENTAL FLOSS!

    1. Awesome job Anna!!

      It’s not easy figuring this stuff out if you have a different setup.

      And good job temporarily MacGyvering the handle with dental floss ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. chas says:

    Hi there. A good tutorial, but my toilet still runs. I’ve replaced the entire guts in the tank, including the flapper valve/overflow pipe assembly, got it all tight, and everything works, but the toilet STILL runs. There is still water getting from the tank to the bowl. The flapper is brand new. The overflow pipe assembly and valve entry brand new…as is the fill valve. and STILL it leaks.

    I don’t get it. Any other ideas?


  27. chas says:

    fixed it. It’s worth noting that very likely even new flappers can have dirt or dust or who-knows-what on the surface that sits on the valve seat. If so, the flapper will not seal. I had to clean the flapper AND the valve seat (the plastic rim that the flapper sits on when sealing off the tank) before the leaking ceased. Run a bit of fine scotchbright around the valve-seat rim, lightly, to smooth it off. Both flapper and valve seat must be perfectly smooth and even or they’ll leak. I imagine this could even obviate buying a new valve-seat/overflow pipe assembly. i should have tried it before replacing.

  28. Saba says:

    Your tutorial is really helpful. I have a leaking toilet and through your tutorial i found what the problem was. But i have a question. what is the difference between a 2 inch and a 3 inch flapper? thanks

  29. Joe says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Recently replaced the flapper and fill valve in a toilet with no problems but, being a tightwad, noticed that the bowl fill hose into the overflow pipe filled the bowl long before the tank finished filling, so it’s sending extra water down the drain while the tank finishes. I noticed a blue clamp on your fill valve tube in one of the pictures above. Is that a restrictor and do you have any advice on how to squeeze those extra pennies out of my system?

  30. abby says:

    I found this video very helpful. Thanks for such an informative video. I think my toilet finally stopped making the noise, I just turned the phillips screw to the left a little like your video showed. Thanks again.

  31. abby says:

    I spoke too soon, still making a noise. I almost feel like there could be air in my pipes that cause the bathroom toilet to make the noise. The water is at least an inch under the flush valve, but still occasionally makes a running water noise and then will stop. Any idea how to fix it?

  32. abby says:

    Turns out I had to replace the fill valve and now the toilet is working perfect. No hissing. Thanks for your help.

  33. Nancy says:

    Have played with fill valve screw and ball and arm and still can’t get water to stop going into bowl. Help! Thanks so much for this service!

  34. Bernie says:

    I need a new fill valve because the ole one is worn out and it runs all the time. I am not sure if I need to replaced the flush valve. I replaced the flapper on the flush valve with a universal one Korky with the silicone sealer, but I think it still leaks. I put food coloring in the tank and it leaked into the bowl. The chain is not stuck under, if anything it is a very slow leak. What should I do to fix?

  35. Hi, Jeff,
    Should the tube that refills the tank be tucked into the cylinder that goes up and down when you flush the toilet (you, know the thing that opens the drain valve)? Or is it ok if the fill tube sprays the water anywhere into the tank?

  36. Cathy says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I have a Kohler that runs during the night. The inside does not look like any I’ve seen, it has a tubular look. (difficult to describe It doesn’t appear to have a typical flapper, more like a ring…? I don’t know how to disassemble it to see if the seal needs replaced, or to take with me to purchase the correct seal, if in fact it’s the seal causing the problem. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you

  37. Cathy H. says:

    Wow, the other Cathy’s problem sounds like it might be just like mine. Mine has a tall metal tube with a plastic ring at the top where you insert the handle lever bar which then lifts the whole tube with the flapper on bottom. The problem I am having is that the tube does not lower back down like it should when you release the handle. The tube will go down if I push on it manually & the flapper is sealing good. I hope you can help me.

  38. Karina says:

    This was super helpful. Thanks for labeling and adding photos. I appreciate your time and effort.

  39. Stephanie says:

    I have a toilet that is hissing even after I turn off the water from the bowl with the shut off below the toilet. It still is hissing and putting water in the tank confused turned the water off below toI let. Why is it doing this?

  40. Stephanie says:

    I have a toilet that is hissing even after I turn off the water from the bowl with the shut off below the toilet. It still is hissing and putting water in the tank confused turned the water off below toI let. Why is it doing this? It’s a Mansfield toilet

  41. Scarlet says:

    I recently moved into a new house and cannot figure out how to turn the water off, everything is plastic and there is no turn off valve like I have seen in every place I have lived? Any suggestions?

  42. Jane says:

    Hi, we replaced our fill valve and flapper, but the toilet still has problems.
    1. tank fills up very slowly, the overflow refill tube runs in full force dumping water directly into the overflow pipe while the fill valve works hard to fill tank.
    2. 10 seconds after the initial fill up, water level drops, and overflow refill tube starts dumping water into overflow pipe constantly, never filling up the tank until the next full flush. No water goes into the bowl even though water is dumped into overflow pipe.
    3. there seems to be no leak below the flapper, if we leave an inch of water in the tank, it stays there for days.
    Can you please help us?

  43. carol says:

    when turning the screw on the valve to lower it, I accidently pushed it down. Can it be brought up or do I need to replace the whole valve? Thanks

  44. Heather says:

    I just had to thank you for your awesome tutorial!! Our house is only 2 years old, but the toilet that gets the most use has been running after each flush for about two months. Somehow my toddler discovered that when he goes to wash his hands afterwards the sink being turned on actually stops the toilet water running. So we’ve been trying to catch it and do this “magic trick” (lol) each time, however it eventually got really old constantly checking it and I did notice that our water bill was much higher these past few months. My husband is a wonderful man, but sadly Mr. Fix It he is not. He wouldn’t call a plumber for fear of their cost of repair and his answer to me was “I’m sorry dear I don’t know what is wrong with it”, so I did a Google search and thankfully your post popped up! Our issue was simply that the water level was too high, and I did exactly what you said and hallelujah it’s a miracle no more running water or annoying sounds coming from the guest bathroom! I even flushed it 5 times and was shocked that I had actually fixed it all by myself and that quickly! Couldn’t have done it without your tutorial and post, I really appreciate it, and I know you’ve just saved us hundreds! ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Diamond says:

    I have tried everything you have suggested in your blog. When I turn the water to the toilet off, there is still leaking in the tank. The flotation device has to he propped so to stop the leaking. Again, this is when the water is shut OFF. I’ve tried to undo the valve beneath the tank, but not only will it not budge, but any movement I do get out of it causes the leak to continue. What is wrong with it and do I have to call a plumber? There are 3 toilets in the house and all of them are like this. Calling a plumber will cost an arm, a leg and the soul of my first born child to fix. What should I do?

    1. Hmmm, the first thing I’d try Diamond is to replace the flapper with a Korky flapper. They’re the best and really do a great job of sealing the flush valve.

      If that doesn’t work then you make need to replace the flush valves.

      Is the water level 3/4″ below the overflow pipe?

  46. Bob Kmetz says:

    I have a problem with my toilet, that you don’t have listed. My water bill was higher than usual, so I lifted the lid off the toilet, and noticed the water level up to the top of the overflow tube. I flushed the toilet, and the float stopped about 1 inch from the top of the tube, where it should. I checked again approx 10 min later and again the water in the tank was at the top of the tube, and dripping down. What is causing it?

    1. Eric says:

      Hi Bob,
      Just saw your post. If you haven’t solved your problem, replace the fill valve – that’s your problem. It is exhibiting a “valve termination failure”, where the fill valve continues to “bleed” into the tank after the float has risen to its cut-off point. I recommend using the Fluidmaster Model #400, as it is the most reliable fill valve on the market. Also, to catch future leaks immediately and avoid high water bills, purchase the inexpensive LeakAlertors for all of your toilets. Make sure to get either the Model #5000 or #6000 – they detect every kind of toilet problem, install in seconds without tools, and will definitely save you a lot of money. -Eric

  47. Amanda says:

    thank you so much for posting this! My dad passed away June 26 of this year, and I did not want to pay someone to come and fix my toilet. My daddy raised a smart, independent woman, I knew I could probably figure it out if someone should me!

  48. Jean says:

    Thanks so much for providing advice. For some reason when I try to play the videos I get a message that they are restricted and I need permission to access. I’m a bit peeved that my Toto toilet–only about 4 yrs keeps running. Toto advised me to turn off water and leave for 4 hours to see if water level had changed-it hadn’t which indicated fill valve. For a while, though everything was fine…now hissing/running. I did read that just cleaning fill valve can help but I seem to have type A and I can’t remove all parts to clean. Any suggestions?

    1. Eric says:

      Hi Jean,
      Replace the fill valve – that’s your problem. Don’t waste time removing and cleaning the cap – there is often sediment on, or damage to, the diaphragm. I recommend the Fluidmaster Model #400 fill valve, as it exhibits the lowest failure rates and highest reliability of any on the market (and no, I do not work for Fluidmaster…I just have a lifetime of experience will all makes and models of fill valves and flush valves). – Eric

      1. Great suggestion Eric, thanks for helping Jean. I totally agree ๐Ÿ˜€

  49. dyanne says:

    my commode has had a minor leak for sometime now ,sometimes it would leak some times it wouldn’t. so I decided, it’s time to do something. so I think, first I will flush when I need to tonight, then let the tanks fill back up, thirdly turn the water intake valve off and I will have at least one flush for back up in the morning. that’s a simple enough plan, yeah? NO next morning no water left in tank! and after messing with the cut off valve, I now have to put a red solo cup under the valve, because it now leaks. I bet Toby Keith didn’t think of that one. anyways back to my commode. called a plumber. not including the parts, which he replaced water intake valve and the guts inside the tank, new wax ring the whole nine yards.i don’t know what the whole nine yards mean, but anyway he put everything new . his labor alone was $170. by the way, did I mention he replaced ALL the innards of the dadblasted thing? this was yesterday, last night I was walking down the hall and as I passed the bathroom, I could hear water refilling the tank. wouldn’t you know the exact same thing., even down to the solo cup. needless to say, I called him today. he told me the only thing left he knew to do was put in a new commode, that that one must have a crack in it. Now, I know that I am a dumb woman, I am not blonde, but some how that all sounds a little wrong, just plain wrong. for one thing how is a leaking throne
    $300 replacement going remove the need for the solo cup under the valve? what would you suggest, and don’t tell me to change the color of my solo cup

  50. Caren Schwartz says:

    Great article but haven’t resolved my issue. I have replaced the flapper. The level is not high. Our problem seems to be that the handle doesn’t come all the way back up. If I lift the handle the running stops.
    This started when i had to replace the handle assembly as the long piece inside the toilet broke.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Eric says:

      Your linkage between the flush handle arm and the flapper needs to be adjusted or replaced. It sounds like it is too tight and does not have much play. If you don’t have a chain linkage, buy a replacement linkage – just don’t make it TOO long, as it can get stuck between the flapper and flush valve seat and cause a different type of leak! – Eric

  51. Cyndee Sharpe says:

    my toilet run below the flapper in the lower part of the unit……help thank you you for your kind attention

  52. Bob says:

    My toiled runs all the time with the supply line turned off! The flapper is pretty new as is the rest of the stuff. How can it be filling (and over-flowing) with the supply line turned off?

    1. One simple reason: you likely have a bad shutoff vale Bob.

      You likely have a compression fitting one, soldered version, or screw on type.

      To replace it, turn off the water to the house and take the old shutoff to the store.

      I personally like 1/4 turn ball valves and have been using SharkBite push on valves, they’re easy to install

  53. Donna says:

    Hi Jeff
    I replaced thte orignal tank equipment with the type that allows you to pull up for peepee and down to poopoo..hehe, after replacing the original I have had to purchase 2 tank valves and the toilet still runs.. I have tried adjusting the.float screw and have put a small piece of cotton or toilet tissue under the lever to stop the float from bobbin in the water causing the water to run.

    I do not like this new style of float, I like the old rubber ball float with metal chain, they were more dependable. If I could use the old float style with this new flush saver I have, it would eliminate this issue.

    Any ideas as to how I can stop the tank float from bobbin and.causing the wayer to run to fill the tank?

    Thank you


    1. Hey, who doesn’t like typing poopoo, haha.

      So you replaced the fill valve Donna? That’s usually the culprit when the tank runs. However, it could also be either the flush valve or flapper.

      Did you identify where water is leaking from the tank, that’ll help figure out which part to replace…let me know

  54. castillo says:

    Thanks for helping me out. YOU ROCK!

  55. Jessica Richmond says:

    Hi Jeff,
    These sound like pretty solid places to start but I don’t know if my issue is like these. My toilet started running pretty recently and now there is water all over the floor! I think it’s coming from the tank but it could be from the base. How do I find out what’s wrong with it and where the water is coming from? I know some of it is coming from the tank because I saw it drip and put a bucket underneath where it dripped and it’s collecting water but the floor is still getting soaked. I am changing towels every couple hours. I hope you can help me!
    Thanks so much,

  56. Caroline says:

    Hi, Jeff. This is good info!. My problem is that the water keeps filling even though I have lowered the floater. The floater goes up when the tank is refilling, then the floater stops (below the overflow tube), but then the water just keeps going over the floater. If I replace the fill valve, do you think that will fix the problem?
    Thank you!!

  57. Victor says:

    Hi Jeff,I figured out how to get the water from filling into the overflow tube but the toilet is still making that sound,how to stop it?

  58. Dolores says:

    My toilet just started filling very slow. When I turn the water valve off and back on the water presser is good and it fills like it did before this happened. Why would that happen??? And what can I do about it??

  59. MO says:

    Thank you ! read what to do did it fixed it walla

  60. Jim Keating says:

    I have a problem with the turn off/on valve that the water goes into tank , it keeps shutting off and I have to uses a wrench to turn it and the water comes back but later shuts off again. The valve is one of those that takes only one turn. Please advise if you can help.

    1. Thanks Jim for your question. If it’s a quarter turn ball valve I’d replace it. Very surprised it’s giving you fits. Those usually last a long time. Is it a compression fitting?

  61. Amy Marcus says:

    I just went and bent the float arm and leak no more!!
    Thanks so much!

    How about removing stains from porcelain!!

  62. Summer says:

    Hi Jeff!

    I have a toilet that is still running even with the water valve turned off… Before this occurred to would just run so my fix was turning the water off at the valve now that is no longer working. I’ve watched your tutorials and I’m just wondering could either of your recommendations be my fix or do I have another issue? Also if any of your recommendations are a resolve to my issue is it OK to work on the toilet tank while the water is running?

  63. Larry says:

    My wife’s mothers brother is a plumber and his name is Fred. I’m going to go sabotage my toilets with the instructions (and they are great!) then call Fred, little does he know, I will be calling him by a different name; Freddie the Flapper Attacker or Freddie the Flapper Rapper!
    Enjoyed your concise post and hope i never need to use it!

  64. Larry Walton says:

    My wifeโ€™s mothers brother is a plumber and his name is Fred. Iโ€™m going to go sabotage my toilets with the instructions (and they are great!) then call Fred, little does he know, I will be calling him by a different name; Freddie the Flapper Attacker or Freddie the Flapper Rapper!
    Enjoyed your concise post and hope i never need to use it!

  65. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was, but my hubby was more inclined to believe you than me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. Tom Poelma says:

    Thanks much for all the information, I tried the Flapper, Unfortunately that made no difference. thus, I went and bought the entire guts and removed the entire old guts. I paid very close attention to the instructions, after cleaning the bowl out very good. But still with brand new innards, it again started to leak, I fail to find the problem. Had two very smart people helping me but, still it was a no go. I can’t believe it! What other guesses might you have on this subject?

  67. Peter says:

    One other cause for intermittent running is a long fill tube that acts as a siphon. Make sure it does not reach down to far into the overflow tube.

  68. Sarah says:

    Hi Jeff,

    My fill valve was just replaced by my apartment handyman, but the toilet is still running. The flapper is fine. I watched your tutorial video and lowered the full valve, but even when lowered all the way, the water still isn’t going down.

    Any suggestions? Thank you!

  69. Ryan says:

    you missed one, too short of a chain. sometimes it will be slightly too short and end up lifting the flapper very slightly so water slowly drains out.

  70. Greg says:

    Jeff, thanks for the great article. In my case it was the flapper that needed to be replaced and your article helped me cut right to the chase. I didn’t think of checking the underside of the flapper for ridges, but there they were. I thought I would have to replace the whole assembly until I read your article, but sure enough when I got to Home Depot, there they were on the shelf.

  71. Jill says:

    Thank you so much for your video. I’ve had a toilet that’s been driving me nuts for over a year by sometimes taking waaaaay to long to finish filling. An eighth to a quarter turn on the float arm screw and it’s fixed. Thanks for your help. I wish I found this video sooner.

  72. Adalaine Bennett says:

    Hi! We just got city water installed last week, and the toilet has been cycling water ever since! Get ready for that expensive water bill…. yikes.

    But, I adjusted the float to a lower level and it didn’t change anything. The water flowed right past and cycled through again.
    I left the water turned off for the night, but I’m doubting anything changes by morning.

    If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Also, what’s your email address? It says we can email you our questions, but I don’t see it anywhere.

  73. Lowell says:

    good video and thank you

    1. Thanks Lowell, hope it helped

    2. Thanks Lowell, glad to help any time.

  74. Kristi says:

    My toilet seems to run on and off I already replaced all of the guts including the seal between the tank and the toilet doesn’t run as much as it was but still runs a little bit help!!

    1. Hmm, what kind of toilet is it Kristi?

  75. Linda Garcia says:

    I have a problem with our Handel’s on both toliets..when u flush you have to pull the handle back up into position .if you just flush it will run..

  76. Heather says:

    My toilet is leaking n refilling every half hour! When i push on the flapper it stops. I put a new flapper on n it still does it. What could it be?

    1. Sounds like a bad fill valve Heather.

  77. Smomm says:

    Thanks so much, Jeff! Simply a few counterclockwise turns of a screw and it’s fixed! My husband is impressed with my plumbing skills. Lol

  78. Brad says:

    Replaced fill tube, flapper, chain, shut off valve and my toilet still runs every few minutes for a couple seconds at a time. What could be the cause. Also recently replaced the tank-to-bowl gasket

  79. Phil says:

    The flapper is called a Douglas Valve.

  80. Jon Baker says:

    I have three toilets in my house, and all three fill for a few seconds every got our so. I have replaced all the flappers and fill valves, and made sure that the water is below the overflow pipe and that the chain is not getting caught in the flapper. Is there a next step in the troubleshooting process?

  81. See Lor says:

    I need help. I accidentally drop a toilet cleaner bomb in the running toilet hole where the flapper open and close. Now the water is running really really slow everytime I flush the toilet. I know that the toilet cleaner bomb will dissolve but its usually takes days. Please help me, what can I do or use to fix this?

  82. Frank says:

    I have what they call a ghost flush in my tolet . Q? Can a low water level cause this?

    1. Hmm, good question Frank. Most likely it’s the flapper not dropping fast enough. This causes the toilet to double flush. Maybe swap out the flapper.

  83. Christina says:

    You all helped me fix my toilet, like a boss! Thank you!!

  84. Katie says:

    I replaced the fill valve, the float, the flapper, & all the inside guts. I adjusted the water level on the float. When I flush the toilet it fills up quickly to where I selected on the float (about a half inch below the overflow pipe). The float works like it should and moves up and stops where it should. However it keeps filling quietly and slowly until it fills above the float and starts trickling into the overflow pipe. Now what should I do? ๐Ÿ™ appreciate any advice!!

  85. John Rollan says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Great tutorial! I seem to be having an issue With my toilet that could not be solved with replacing the flapper. Water is coming down draining too fast in tank. We filled the toilet tank until it hits the water level and automatically stops .. turned off the water first, and we notice that the water is draining fast. I installed a new flap thinking that was the reason why it was draining too fast. I tried it again with a new flap and it had the same results. So the water keeps running. Im sensing there might be another leak possibly under the flap. I wanted to get your opinion. Thanks Jeff!

  86. Lyn says:

    Please help! The toilet still runs without stopping. I have replaced everything inside. Now, water wonโ€™t flow into the fill tube but the tank still fills to overflow and the water will not stop on its own. I donโ€™t know what else to do.

  87. J McL says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. Just fixed the floater, now the toilet doesn’t run any more!

  88. Jenny says:

    I would recommend to call in a professional rather then doing it yourself, because a slight misjudgement can cause chaos.

  89. Nick says:

    Thank you for the Tutorial. Made things very easy with the water cycling mine was doing. By the way The person that named the Flapper was none other than the man who improved upon the already invented toilet. As part of a new design it was introduced in the late 19th century by Mr. Thomas Crapper who invented the Ballcock system as an easier means to cycle the water in and out of the tank per flush rather than a cistern above.

  90. Amy Hubbard says:

    Our toilet runs all the time. It looks as if the water continues filling the bowl slowly even after the shut-off valve turns off. Then it trickles down the overflow tube after it reaches the top if it. We just replaced the shut off & flapper recently. Would that be a leak in the supply valve?

  91. Jenne says:

    In case you see water leaking our of the toilet immediately call in a professional plumber to detect and fix the leak immediately.

  92. Annette Bohman says:

    Hi my husband replaced the the flush valve system and the toilet still leaks water back into the bowl. Now what?

  93. Deb S. says:

    Hi. We are constantly pushing down on the flow in order for our tank to refill. Do you have a fix for this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.