Stop the Waste: How to Fix a Running Toilet

Mar 13, 2024 | DIY, Resources

A running toilet is not just an annoyance; it’s a silent culprit that can significantly impact your water bill and waste a precious resource. That constant, subtle sound of running water may seem harmless, but it could be costing you money with every passing minute. At Service by Scott, we understand the frustration and the importance of addressing this common issue promptly.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to fix a running toilet. Whether you’re dealing with a faulty flapper, a misaligned float, or an issue with the fill valve, our step-by-step instructions will empower you to take control of the situation. Not only will you save water and money, but you’ll also gain the satisfaction of tackling a common household problem on your own.

Join us as we demystify the inner workings of your toilet and provide practical solutions to put an end to that continuous flow. Don’t let a running toilet disrupt your peace of mind or drain your wallet. Let’s dive into the world of DIY toilet repair and reclaim control over your home’s plumbing.

Fix a Running Toilet

Understanding the Problem

To successfully address a running toilet, it’s crucial to comprehend why toilets exhibit this behavior in the first place. The constant flow of water may originate from several issues within the toilet tank, each requiring a specific set of solutions. By understanding the root causes, you’ll be better equipped to diagnose and remedy the problem efficiently.

Why Toilets Run

Toilets may run for various reasons, and one common culprit is a malfunctioning flapper. The flapper is a rubber component that seals the flush valve, allowing water to enter the bowl when you flush. If the flapper doesn’t create a watertight seal, water continually leaks into the bowl, triggering the toilet to run intermittently. Additionally, issues with the float, which regulates the water level in the tank, or a faulty fill valve can also contribute to a running toilet.

Identifying the Cause

To pinpoint the cause of a running toilet, start by removing the tank lid and observing the components inside. Check for any visible signs of water leakage or damage. If water is trickling into the bowl when the toilet is not in use, the flapper may be the culprit. Similarly, if the water level is too high or too low, adjustments to the float or fill valve may be necessary.

Understanding these fundamental aspects of toilet mechanics will guide you in the next steps of our troubleshooting journey. Remember, a running toilet is not just a nuisance; it’s a puzzle waiting to be solved, and we’re here to help you piece it together.

Tools and Materials

Before embarking on the journey to fix a running toilet, it’s essential to gather the right tools and materials. Having the correct equipment at your disposal will not only streamline the repair process but also ensure that you can address the issue effectively. Here’s a concise list of what you’ll need:

Adjustable Wrench

This versatile tool is a must-have for any plumbing repair job. It allows you to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts with ease, making it invaluable when working on various components of your toilet.


A screwdriver, both flathead and Phillips, will come in handy for removing screws and accessing different parts of the toilet. It’s a basic yet essential tool for any DIY enthusiast.

Replacement Parts

Depending on the issue you discover, having some common replacement parts can save you a trip to the hardware store mid-repair. Consider keeping spare flappers, fill valves, and other components specific to your toilet model.


While not directly related to the internal components of the toilet tank, a plunger is a useful tool for addressing clogs that might be contributing to the running issue.

With these tools and materials in your arsenal, you’ll be well-prepared to delve into the inner workings of your toilet and take the necessary steps to rectify the problem. Remember, a properly equipped DIYer is a successful DIYer and Service by Scott is here to guide you every step of the way.

Fix a Running Toilet

Step-by-Step Repair Guide

Now that you’ve armed yourself with the necessary tools and a basic understanding of the problem, it’s time to dive into the step-by-step process of fixing a running toilet. Follow these instructions carefully to restore your toilet to its efficient, water-saving glory:

1. Turn Off Water Supply

Locate the shut-off valve, usually situated behind or beside the toilet. Turn it clockwise until it’s fully closed to stop the water flow to the tank.

2. Inspect and Clean Components

Remove the tank lid and inspect the interior. Check for debris, sediment, or mineral buildup in and around the flush valve and other components. Cleaning these areas can often resolve running issues.

3. Check Flapper

Identify the flapper, the rubber component that covers the flush valve. Ensure it creates a proper seal. If it’s damaged or misaligned, consider replacing it with a new one compatible with your toilet model.

4. Inspect Fill Valve

Locate the fill valve, typically on the left side of the tank. Check for any signs of wear or damage. If it’s not functioning correctly, adjustments or a replacement may be necessary.

5. Check Float

Identify the float, which regulates the water level in the tank. Ensure it moves freely and is not obstructed. Adjust its position if needed to control the water level.

6. Test the Repairs

Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments or replacements, turn the water supply back on by reopening the shut-off valve. Flush the toilet and observe its performance. If the issue persists, revisit the steps to ensure everything is correctly installed and functioning.

By diligently following this in-depth repair guide, you’ll address the most prevalent issues causing your toilet to run. Take the necessary time and maintain your focus throughout the process. However, should you encounter challenges or prefer professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Service by Scott. Our seasoned experts are ready to provide swift, reliable solutions for a more efficient and trouble-free bathroom.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

Now that you’ve resolved the issue of a running toilet, it’s essential to implement preventative maintenance measures to ensure the continued efficiency of your plumbing system. Regular inspections and simple practices can go a long way in preventing future problems. Here are some valuable preventative maintenance tips to keep your toilet running smoothly:

Regular Inspection

Make it a habit to inspect your toilet at regular intervals. Check for any signs of leaks, loose connections, or visible wear and tear. Early detection of issues can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems.

Use Dye Tablets

Drop a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing, you may have a silent leak. Identifying and addressing these leaks promptly can save water and prevent potential damage.

Adjust Water Levels

Monitor the water level in the tank and make adjustments if necessary. The water level should be set just below the overflow tube. This ensures optimal flushing performance and prevents unnecessary water waste.

Check for Mineral Buildup

Inspect components for mineral buildup, especially in hard water areas. Clean any deposits on the flush valve, flapper, and other parts to maintain their functionality.

Replace Worn Parts Promptly

If you notice any components showing signs of wear or damage during your inspections, replace them promptly. This proactive approach prevents unexpected breakdowns and extends the lifespan of your toilet.

By incorporating these preventative maintenance tips into your routine, you’ll not only keep your recently repaired toilet in top-notch condition but also contribute to the long-term health of your plumbing system. Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in preventing future headaches.

Fix a Running Toilet

When to Call a Professional

While DIY solutions can address many toilet issues, there are instances where calling a professional is the wisest course of action. Recognizing when to seek expert help can save you time, frustration, and potential damage. Here are key situations when it’s advisable to contact a professional, such as Service by Scott:

Complex Issues

If you’ve followed the DIY repair guide and the problem persists or appears to be more intricate, it’s time to call in the experts. Complex issues, such as internal leaks or issues deep within the plumbing system, often require professional assessment and specialized tools.

Lack of Confidence

If you lack confidence in your plumbing skills or are unsure about the diagnosis, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Professionals at Service by Scott have the experience and knowledge to accurately identify and address a wide range of plumbing issues.

Older Plumbing Systems

Older toilets and plumbing systems may present unique challenges. If you’re dealing with an aging toilet, especially one with outdated components, it’s advisable to consult with professionals who are well-versed in handling such systems.

Efficiency Concerns

If your toilet continues to exhibit inefficiencies despite your best efforts, a professional inspection can pinpoint underlying issues. This proactive approach ensures that your toilet operates optimally and prevents potential water waste.

Remember, there’s no shame in seeking professional assistance. Service by Scott is just a call away, ready to provide the expertise needed to tackle complex problems and ensure the longevity of your plumbing system. Don’t hesitate to reach out when the situation calls for the skills of a seasoned plumbing professional.


In conclusion, conquering the issue of a running toilet is a task within your reach with the right guidance. By understanding the common problems, utilizing the step-by-step repair guide, and incorporating preventative maintenance tips, you’ve taken significant strides toward a more efficient bathroom.

Regular maintenance is the key to a trouble-free plumbing system, and your commitment to these DIY practices is commendable. However, should you encounter challenges beyond the scope of this guide or prefer the assurance of professional expertise, remember that Service by Scott is here to lend a helping hand.

Our seasoned professionals bring over 30 years of experience servicing Woodville, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re dealing with a stubborn toilet issue, require routine maintenance, or need assistance with any plumbing concerns, we have the knowledge and dedication to ensure your plumbing system operates at its best.

Take control of your home’s plumbing—contact Service by Scott today for reliable, expert assistance. Let’s work together to keep your plumbing in top condition, saving you water, money, and the headaches of unexpected issues. Your efficient, worry-free bathroom awaits—reach out to us now!


Why does my toilet keep running?

A running toilet is often caused by a malfunctioning flapper, a misaligned float, or a faulty fill valve. These components can lead to water continuously leaking into the bowl, triggering the toilet to run intermittently.

Can I fix a running toilet myself?

Absolutely. Many running toilet issues can be resolved with basic DIY steps, as outlined in our comprehensive repair guide. However, if you’re uncertain or encounter complex issues, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance from Service by Scott.

How do I know if my toilet is wasting water?

Signs of a water-wasting toilet include a constant running sound, a noticeable increase in your water bill, or water continuously flowing into the bowl. Using dye tablets can help detect silent leaks that may contribute to water wastage.

How long does it take to fix a running toilet?

The time to fix a running toilet varies based on the issue’s complexity. With our step-by-step guide, many problems can be resolved within an hour. However, for more intricate issues, or if you’re unfamiliar with the process, it’s wise to allocate sufficient time.

What if I can’t fix my running toilet?

If DIY efforts prove unsuccessful or if you’re uncomfortable with the repair process, it’s time to call in the professionals. Service by Scott offers prompt and reliable assistance, ensuring your toilet is efficiently repaired, and your plumbing system operates seamlessly.