How to Fix a Toilet That Keeps Running


A constantly running toilet makes an annoying sound and wastes money as water flows uselessly through the pipe and down your commode. The solution typically involves replacing the flapper inside the tank. The rubber flapper deteriorates and cracks over time, developing leaks. When the seal fails completely, the bowl refill tube runs continuously because the system detects that the water level is not at the correct height. Replacing the flapper takes 10 minutes or less.

Things You'll Need

  • Food coloring tablets
  • Plastic bag
  • Replacement flapper
  • Raise the cover on the water tank behind the toilet to drop in a food coloring tablet. Do not flush the toilet. If the water in the bowl changes color, you have a leak at the flapper.

  • Shut off the stop valve on the wall below the toilet, turning the knob clockwise.

  • Flush the toilet to drain the fill tank before removing the cover and setting aside.

  • Lift the rubber flapper off the hole in the bottom center of the tank and detach the flapper from the trip lever (the rod inside the tank that connects to the handle outside) and the two hinge posts that hold the flapper at the tank bottom.

  • Take the flapper to a plumbing or hardware store to match with a replacement. Carry the flapper in a plastic bag to prevent staining your hands from the likely rotted rubber.

  • Insert the new flapper into the tank and position it over the hole in the bottom. Attach the loops at one end of the flapper to the two hinges inside the tank bottom and clip the top of the flapper to the chain attached to the trip handle.

  • Replace the tank cover and unscrew the stop valve to fill the tank with water.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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