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How to fix a running toilet

how to fix a running toilet eating man
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Hey, is your toilet running? Well, you better go catch it! Ha, that’s some old-fashioned toilet humor for you, readers. Anyway, seriously, is your toilet running? Okay, let’s fix that. After all, a running toilet is not just irritating, it also eats into your water bill. 

First, take off the lid to your toilet’s tank, that way you can see what’s the matter. All toilets are pretty much the same on the inside. There might be a few minor differences, but those are all cosmetic. When you open the tank and peer inside, you’ll see that the handle controls a lever, which is attached to a chain or lift rod, which in turn is connected to a rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank. When you push down on the handle, the lever lifts, which pulls up the flapper. That’s how water gets from the tank to the bowl. Below is a handy diagram that shows you how your toilet works. 


Usually the cause of your toilet running woes will be found with the flapper. If it’s not fully closed, the tank will not fill up again, so reach in and close the flapper by pressing down on it. This should do the trick: the tank will fill up and your toilet will sit still.

Sometimes this won’t do the trick, though. If it doesn’t, your toilet might have waterline issues. If water is not filling up to the tank’s waterline, then check the water valve (located behind the tank) to see if it’s turned all the way on. If it isn’t, do so. Water should start filling up to the waterline. Now, if that doesn’t work, fiddle with the float and the fill valve. These two apparatuses work together: As the water level in the tank drops, the float descends as well, and when it’s completely descended, this lets the fill valve know that it’s time to release more water into the tank. The float ascends with the water level, and once the waterline is reached, the float tells the fill valve to stop pumping water. Adjusting the position of the float should stop your running toilet in its tracks.

If all of the above fails to fix your running toilet, then you’ve got a truly tenacious toilet and you should just smash it with a sledgehammer and buy a new one, or maybe seek professional assistance.

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Jacob O'Gara
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jacob O’Gara is an editorial assistant at Digital Trends, where he writes about everything from video games to…
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