Stopping a Running Toilet

Worn-Out Float Ball

stop a running toiletIf you have a float ball in your toilet tank and it’s partially submerged, or has water inside it, you need to replace it.  Shut off the water supply at the supply stop (or the main, if there is no supply stop), and flush the toilet.  Unscrew the float from the float arm (turn counterclockwise), take it to the hardware store and buy a replacement.  Attach the new float (turn clockwise), and turn on the supply stop.

Float Ball Won’t Rise

If the float won’t rise sufficiently to stop the inlet valve from running water into the tank, then the water will keep running.  To adjust the float, manually lift the float arm; if that stops the water from running, bend the float arm down, or away from the tank wall.  To adjust the float cup, press the clip that adjusts the float cup and try moving it up to raise the water level.

Tank Stopper Won’t Close

If the water level is not the problem, a running toilet is often caused by a poor seal between the tank stopper and the valve seat.  Or, the stopper is worn and needs to be replaced.

With the tank lid open, if you observe the flush and notice that the tank stopper is not closing firmly over the toilet valve seat, the water will continue to run out of the tank, no matter how much water flows in.  You want the stopper seal over the valve seat, you can try two other fixes:

  • To clean the stopper and valve seat, you will need a sponge and a pad of fine steel wool.

→  Turn off the water and flush the tank to empty it;

→  Lift the stopper.  Clean it with the sponge;

→  Examine and feel the edge of the valve seat.  It may have corroded a bit and feel rough.  Smooth and clean it with the steel wool;

→  Replace the stopper.  Turn the water back on, and leaving the tank lid open, watch the stopper as you flush.  If the stopper seals and the water stops running, you’re done.

  • If not, here’s how to replace the stopper.

→  Turn off the water and flush the tank to empty it;

→  Remove the stopper from the lift rod or chain (it will unscrew or unhook), and bring it to the hardware store or home center for a replacement;

→  Install the new stopper.

If your flush is weak you will need to remove the tank lid to watch the flush action.  If the screw that connects the flush handle to the lift arm is loose, tighten this connection.  Or the stopper may close before the tank empties; in that case, adjust the lift rod or chain.  If this is the cause, usually the rod or chain needs to be lengthened a bit to give the water a tiny bit more time to drain out.

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