How to Stop a Toilet From Running

The sound of running water is audible all the way from your bedroom, and it's keeping you awake. Time to say good-night to toilet troubles. If you see water flowing into the overflow tube when the toilet runs, the problem lies in the fill valve. If water is leaking from the tank into the bowl, the problem is with the flush-valve assembly.

Moderately Challenging


Things You'll Need

  • Replacement Parts
  • Screwdrivers
  • Spud Wrench
  • Abrasive Pad
  • Sponge
  • Channel-type Pliers
  1. When water runs into an overflow pipe

    • 1

      First, check the float ball. If it is submerged more than halfway in the water, it is waterlogged and can't rise high enough to shut off the fill valve. Replace the ball.

    • 2

      Check the guide arm to make sure it's not binding on the inside of the tank or the overflow tube. If it is, straighten the guide arm.

    • 3

      If the float ball and guide arm are operating properly, adjust the water level by bending the guide arm or turning the adjustment screws on the fill valve. Flush the toilet and recheck the water level. When it is adjusted correctly, the water level will be even with the fill line on the tank or overflow tube (see How to Fix Flushing Problems).

    • 4

      Service or replace the fill valve. Turn off the water supply and flush. Open the fill valve, rinse the parts and replace any worn seals. On plunger types, loosen the thumbscrews to slide out the float arm and lift out the plunger. On diaphragm types, remove the top screws. On float-cup types, remove the cap and push down on the top assembly as you unscrew it. To replace a fill valve, sponge out the tank, remove the refill tube and then disconnect the water-supply tube's coupling nut and the mounting nut with channel-type pliers. Reverse the procedure to install. Check the manufacturer's instructions to locate the fill valve's critical level, which must be a minimum of 1 inch (2.5 cm) higher than the top of the overflow tube. Most replacement fill valves are adjustable in height.

    When water leaks from the tank into the bowl

    • 5

      Clean the valve seat with an abrasive pad and the flapper or ball with a sponge. To replace a worn flapper, lift it off the lugs and hook on a new one.

    • 6

      To replace a valve seat (the large opening between the tank and bowl), first disconnect the water supply and use a screwdriver and pliers to remove the bolts that secure the tank to the bowl.

    • 7

      Turn the tank over to remove the spud washer. Use a spud wrench to remove the locking nut on the flush valve.

    • 8

      Reverse the procedure to install new parts and to reinstall the tank and water supply.

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