5 Reasons Your Toilet Keeps Running (+ Tips to Fix It)

One of the most common plumbing issues people experience is a running toilet. It’s a fairly easy issue to identify. You flush, and the water just keeps coming into the bowl. You’ll also hear the toilet running longer than usual afterward. This is the first sign of a potential problem.

Pasadena, Maryland plumber holds plunger inside of running toilet

While it may not seem like such a big deal, a running toilet can cause your water bill to skyrocket. According to a USGS study, a running toilet can waste 22 gallons of water per day, which is 660 gallons per month. Not only will you save money, but you’ll have more eco-friendly plumbing.

Fortunately, there are simple causes and solutions to a constantly running toilet. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common reasons your toilet keeps running and some solutions for how to fix it.

Why Is My Toilet Always Running?

There are five common reasons why your toilet is always running.

  • The flapper chain needs adjusting
  • The flapper needs to be replaced
  • The flush handle is stuck
  • The float valve is too high
  • The refill tube needs adjusting

Sometimes, the cause of a running toilet isn’t always clear. So, it’s a good idea to check all of these components to help you identify the cause of the problem. It could be more than one problem!

1. You Need to Adjust the Flapper Chain

The chain you see in the tank of your toilet is attached to the flapper, which creates a seal between the tank and the toilet bowl. If the chain is too short or too long, it could cause the flapper to work improperly.

If the chain is too short, it doesn’t allow the flapper to create a tight seal to cut off the water from flowing into the toilet.

If the chain is too long, it could become tangled or even go under the flapper, preventing a tight seal. A long chain may also not hold the flapper open long enough for a full flush, leading to an overflow in the tank.

You can adjust the flapper chain by cutting off excess portions if it’s too long or replacing it with a longer one if it’s too short.

Broken, worn out Pasadena toilet flapper

2. The Flapper is Worn Out

While your toilet tank and bowl may last for years, even decades, the small components inside will need replacing every so often. One of those parts is the flapper. As discussed above, the flapper is a mechanism that creates a seal to stop water from flowing from the tank into the bowl.

You can tell if the flapper is worn out if there are cracks in it.

This is an easy problem to fix as you just have to find a replacement. The best way to do this is to shut off the water supply to the toilet, remove the current flapper, and take it to your local hardware store to find a replacement similar to the one you have.

3. You Have a Stuck Handle

If, when you flush the toilet, you find that the handle gets stuck, this could be the cause of your running toilet. You may not connect the two issues at first, but this simple problem could cost you money and water.

The solution is as simple as the problem. You likely just have to loosen the screw a bit to allow the handle to pop back up after a full flush. This will keep water from flowing into the bowl afterward.

4. The Float Valve is Too High

The role of the float valve is to ensure the water in the tank doesn’t become too high. The float will stop the water flow once the water reaches a certain level.

If the float valve is too high, it will cause the tank to overflow and have the water run into the overflow tube and into the toilet continuously.

To fix this issue, simply lower the height of the float valve, so the water doesn’t reach a level that causes it to reach the overflow tube. This will keep the water in the tank until the next time you flush the toilet.

5. Refill Tube Needs Adjusting

The refill tube connects the float valve and the overflow tube. Its role is to refill the toilet bowl after you flush. There are a couple of issues that may cause the refill tube to need to be readjusted for proper functioning.

If the refill tube is too long, it will keep pushing water into the overflow tube, which causes water to run into the bowl continuously. If this is the case, you just have to shorten it to be above the overflow tube.

Sometimes the problem is that the refill tube isn’t placed properly. To keep it in the right position, you can attach the tube to the side to prevent it from moving every time you flush.

Plumber in Pasadena, MD fixes client's running toilet

What If It’s More Than Just a Running Toilet?

Plumbing is a complex aspect of your Pasadena, MD, home. With so many pipes, flows, and pieces, it can be difficult to identify problems, much less fix them when needed.

If you have gone through this list and checked everything in your tank, but still can’t identify the cause of the problem, it may be a more significant issue that could require assistance from a professional plumbing service.

This is when you need Chesapeake Plumbing, Inc.!

Chesapeake Plumbing has served the Pasadena, MD, area for over 30 years and has helped homeowners with all their plumbing needs, from emergency plumbing repairs to complete bathroom and kitchen renovations.

Our team of certified and professional plumbers will quickly and efficiently fix any plumbing issue using the most advanced and reliable techniques and tools.

Whether you have a constantly running toilet, leaking pipe, or an emergency flooding issue, you can count on Chesapeake Plumbing to be at your service. 

Contact us for a free consultation to get to the root of your plumbing problem today!

Sewer Line Backups


Spring/Summer Tip
Sewer line backups are common this time of year due to summer rainwater entering sewer pipes via cracks. New tree root growth from the spring can also cause sewer backup issues as roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of nutrition. Have Chesapeake Plumbing Inc. inspect your sewer lines to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer line backup problem or if damage has already occurred. Give us a call today 410-437-3888

Frozen Pipes

If your pipes freeze, open the cold water faucet nearest to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure.

Frozen pipe
Not Good

How to be a Better Homeowner

pipe leak

Know your house

This might seem silly, but not everyone knows their own house well enough, especially if they take minimal part in the house maintenance. Ask yourself this question:

–      Do you know where your main water shut-off valve is?

Solve the problem with backup power

When every other thunderstorm leaves you without power for 10 hours, it significantly disrupts your lifestyle. You know what we mean if you live in an older house. The good news is you don’t have to wait in the darkness until the power comes back on. Take matters in your own hands and install a backup power generator. Choose a portable unit or a stand-by one that will automatically kick in once it detects the power outage.

Remember, once the power is out your sump pump also stops working. If this is a concern, choose a stand-by power generator or install a backup sump pump.  Depending on where you live, you can opt either for a battery-powered option or the one that runs off of water pressure.

Be prepared

Unfortunately, none of us is safe from plumbing misfortunes, but it always helps to be prepared. Have a plumber’s number (here’s ours: 410-437-3888) in your phone or pinned to your fridge or cork-board, so that every panic-stricken family member knows where to call in case you need an urgent drain cleaning.

Also, don’t skip on maintenance. Water heaters, sump pumps and even pipes are not meant to last forever. Such factors as your location, lifestyle, water chemistry and many others can positively or negatively affect the lifespan of your plumbing equipment. Don’t wait till it breaks: get things checked out and tuned up every once in a while – Chesapeake Plumbing will gladly help you with that!

An overflowing toilet, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning faucet is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention. What do you do? First of all, don’t panic and follow these steps recommended by the specialists from Chesapeake Plumbing.

Shut off the water. If you can, shut off the water supply to the pipe that’s causing an issue, but if you don’t know your way around your plumbing system, just turn the main water shutoff valve. It’s typically located in the basement or outside your house. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the plumbing before the emergency occurs. Label the pipes and valves so that they can be easily identified.

Contain the damage. Once there’s no more water contributing to the flood, attempt to contain the disaster area. Prevent the water pooling on the floor from spreading any further by piling towels, blankets, scooping it out or directing to the drains.