Fixing a Leaky Toilet – How to Stop Your Toilet from Running

To me one of the most annoying things in the whole world is a running toilet. I personally rank it right up there with a barking dog at night and fingernails on a chalkboard. Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad but it’s definitely up there. Not only is it annoying but it is also a complete waste of perfectly good water as well as a waste of money. Luckily fixing a running toilet is one of the easiest home repair projects you can do, mainly because there just isn’t that much to the inner workings of a toilet. If you know nothing about how a toilet works you may feel a little intimidated at first glance but in the following paragraphs you will learn about the two main reasons a toilet leaks and how to fix them. There are no special tools needed, actually the only tool you might need is a pair of scissors, and no skills required. And the best part of this project is it takes less time to finish than an average trip to the bathroom.

Toilet Fill Valve for Adjusting Water LevelWhat Causes a Running Toilet?

As mentioned above there are two main reasons a toilet runs. The first reason is that the tank is over filling. This is a very easy fix. You simply need to lower the ball/float on the toilet fill valve. By doing this you lower the water level and keep the water from spilling over the overflow tube. Now before you go adjusting on things you will want to make sure this is actually the reason for the leak. To tell if this is your problem remove the lid from the toilet tank and see where the water level is stopping. If it is under the overflow then chances are the toilet is running because of reason number two, the toilet flapper in no longer good. Keep reading to learn how to replace it.

How to Replace a Toilet Flapper

Here are 10 easy steps to fixing a running toilet by replacing the toilet flapper. And just as a side note the reason a flapper goes bad is after time itNew Korky Toilet Flapper begins to warp. The warping doesn’t allow the flapper to seal properly which lets the water seep through.

Required Items: Scissors and new toilet flapper.

(New flappers can be purchased at any home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot or at most Walmart stores. I recommend buying a brand name flapper like a Korky or Bulls Eye. I do Not recommend buying a generic off brand because they never seem to last very long if they work at all.)

Step 1: Turn off the water to the toilet.

 Water Shutoff Valve for Toilet

Step 2: Remove the lid from the toilet tank.

Step 3: Flush the toilet to drain all the water from the tank.

Step 4: Unhook the chain from the flush handle lever.

 Toilet Flapper Hook to Flush Handle Lever

Step 5: Unhook the old flapper from the overflow tube. Depending on the type of flapper you have this will done in one of two ways. One way will have a ring that is attached to the flapper. This ring slips over the overflow tube. To remove the flapper you will need to unclip the fill hose from the top of the overflow then slide the flapper up until it comes off.Newly Opened Toilet Flapper

The other way which is shown in the pictures is a flapper that is attached by two arms at the bottom of the overflow tube. The flapper has two small loops that fit over these arms. Simply slide the loops over the arms to remove the flapper. You will notice when you buy your new flapper that most of them are made to be used with either type of setup. If you have the two arm setup you just cut off the overflow loop at the designated spots. There will be directions on how to do this in the box it comes in.


Flapper and Overflow TubeToilet Flapper with Overflow Attachment Removed







Step 6: Adjust chain on new flapper to match the length of the chain on the old flapper.

Step 7: Install new flapper by reversing the directions on step 5.

Step 8: Hook flapper chain to the flush handle lever.

Step 9: Turn the water back on.

Step 10: Put the lid back on the tank.

Now flush the toilet and the leak should have stopped. Congratulations you now know how to stop your toilet from running!

Now if you have water leaking from under the toilet or from the tank these are completely different problems which will be addressed in future articles here at

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Husband, father and and hopeless internet addict. Been online for about three years sharing my thoughts, making money and wasting time but not necessarily in that order.