Q&A: Fixing your Running Toilet
Question: Why is it that my toilet runs every few minutes to few hours?
Answer: The only reason why a toilet runs every few minutes or hours, is because water is slowly leaking from the tank into the bowl. When the water level goes down a little bit, it triggers the float valve to release water from the inlet into the bowl until the float valve signals the stop, then the whole process repeats itself again.
There are 3 reasons for this and I am going to list it from most likely to least likely reason
1) It’s been many years and the rubber flapper or gasket has hardened and no longer provides a tight seal.
- Fix: You could just change the flapper. You can buy the part from Home Depot or Lowes for $7. Just search for “toilet flapper” in either website. Here it is for Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/s/toilet%2520flapper?NCNI-5 However, we highly recommend buying the entire “toilet repair kit” and changing everything at once. It does not require much more labor and mine as well change the entire flush assembly. If the flapper is already worn, it won’t be long before the inlet fill valve breaks and that has to be changed. This will give you a peace of mind for the next 10 years.
2) There may be an obstruction in the way such as the chain is too long and the excess chain was not cut off and is dangling below the flapper that opens/closes with each valve. Or one side of the flapper is disconnected from the assembly and it’s not sealing properly
Fix: Open the tank of the toilet and look into it to make sure the flapper is opening and closing properly. Cut off the excess chain or remove any obstructions. Also make sure the flapper is connected on both sides properly to the flush assembly.
3) The toilet fill valve (assembly with the adjustable float valve)is dirty and is not functioning properly and should be replaced.
- FIix: You can buy the replacement fill valve for $7 - $10 on Home Depot or Lowes (search “toilet fill valve”) but if that is already broken, it won’t be long until the flapper should harden and needs to be replaced or the rubber gaskets in the tank bolts (or even main gasket between bowl and tank) goes bad and creates a exterior water leak. We suggest changing the entire toilet assembly with a toilet repair kit. This will give you a peace of mind for the next 10 years.