DIY: Fixing a leaky toilet


You flush your toilet a number of times each day, but you probably take this small act for granted. At some point, you flush and your toilet decides it just does not want to stop running afterward. Sometimes the toilet keeps running after the flush, and sometimes it will start and stop for minutes afterwards. This issue can waste a lot of water, driving up your utility bills. The noise alone can be a serious nuisance. Not to mention, you may begin to worry about your toilet and wonder if it is going to continue to work at all or maybe it will overflow at some point.

Following a few simple steps can help you determine what the problem with your toilet is and potentially help you fix the situation:

Open the lid and take a peek
You need to know how the inside of a toilet works in order to diagnose what is wrong. Don't worry – toilets are pretty simple, and you can gather a working knowledge of how one operates with just a little bit of patience. Flush the toilet a couple of times and watch how the inner mechanisms work in order to complete the flush. Essentially, the process should run like this:

When you flush, the chain lifts up a flap inside the toilet. This lets water fall through the top of tank into the bowl. The water level drops – as does the flap – and the opening ends up closing.

Catch the running
You may need to flush a couple of times to recreate the problem, but flush the toilet and watch what happens when the running doesn't quit. Try to notice if anything worked (or didn't work) differently that time.

Diagnose the problem
Try to pay attention to a few different factors while the toilet is running. More often than not, the flapper valve has been stuck open and this is why the toilet won't stop running. You can use your hand to close the valve. Re-flush and see if this worked. You may need to readjust the flap a few times to permanently fix the situation.

The chain holding the flap can sometimes get caught on something or might have broken. You may need to replace the chain if you notice any issues going on with it during the flush.

One last item to check for when your toilet keeps running is the flapper valve itself. Make sure the hinge is intact, the flap is still lined up properly and that there are no other problems.

Finally, you will want to watch the process inside the tank of your toilet and make sure that all of the parts are in their place and they don't look like they are broken, flopping around or hitting other parts; preventing them from working properly how they should be.

Fixing a running toilet on your own is usually a pretty straightforward process. There are not a lot of different things that can go wrong, and most of the solutions are easy to do at home. If you are worried about the long-term health of your plumbing system, consider investing in a home warranty. A TotalProtect® Home Warranty will help to protect you from the high potential cost of repairing or replacing a large appliance or home system.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.