Does your toilet keep running randomly?
No worries, it is a common problem in many households.
A randomly leaking toilet is one of the most annoying ongoing issues.
This problem takes two forms.
The first is a toilet that runs for a few seconds and then becomes silent, only to repeat the same routine later.
The second most common form is when the toilet bowl keeps running constantly.
Whenever this problem occurs, you should suspect one of the many valves inside the toilet tank, the flapper, or the chain.
In this blog post, we will help you handle this problem correctly and understand why your toilet keeps running randomly.
So, stay tuned for more insight into the most effective fixes for this common issue.
Why Does Your Toilet Keep Running Randomly?
The sound of water constantly or randomly leaking from a toilet is irritating and may disturb your neighbors if the shared walls are thin.
Aside from the annoying sound, this ongoing leak is wasteful.
Even a slight or slow leak will add to the annual water bill.
Also, it isn’t good for the environment.
Ongoing toilet running means that something is triggering the flush system.
Such a thing indicates a malfunction in one or more components.
So, you can start by inspecting each culprit and fixing or replacing them accordingly.
1. Stuck Flapper Chain
The flapper is a main component in a toilet’s flush mechanism.
A functional flapper is supposed to drain water from the toilet tank and lead it to the bowl once you flush the toilet.
The flapper is connected to the flush chain for it to work correctly.
From another end, the chain is attached to the flushing handle.
This chain may malfunction when it is not of the right size.
Moreover, it malfunctions when it becomes cracked or damaged.
Typically when it is no longer in shape, the bowl will never stop filling.
This means the tank will never refill adequately.
2. Watch out for a Bad Flapper
Suppose the chain is not the issue behind your toilet that keeps running randomly.
Then it would help if you ultimately considered the flapper as the culprit.
Being soaked in water for all its life, the flapper may gradually deteriorate until it completely wears out.
A worn-out flapper will never close properly.
This means your toilet will keep running randomly or all the time.
Remember that the toilet flapper valve might be jammed with mold or tough sediments.
3. Faulty Water Inlet Valve
As the name suggests, a water inlet valve allows water to reach the cistern.
This valve is supposed to seal once the toilet cistern is filled.
The moment of filling is when your tank is ready for flushing.
This valve may malfunction when it becomes partially or fully clogged.
4. Mispositioned Float Ball
A toilet float ball, aka ballcock, is a component that sets the level of the filled water.
Generally, the float arm rises with the water as the tank refills.
However, once it stops rising, the water should stop filling.
The water will keep rising if the float is mispositioned into a higher level.
Eventually, it will overflow beyond the correct float level until it reaches the overflow tube.
And that is how you get a randomly running toilet.
5. Inspect the Flush Handle
The flushing system relies on this part to give the flushing order.
You can find it on the top left side of the tank.
So, it is not located in the bottom like other valves and tubes.
Generally, this handle is built to last many years.
However, problems occur when it becomes loose.
This typically happens when their secure nuts are no longer tight enough.
A loose handle does not allow the toilet to flush.
Sometimes, a malfunctioning flush lever may lead to a flush button failure.
6. Mispositioned Refill Tube
This type is mainly made of flexible, long-lasting rubber.
This rubber tube tells the overflow tube the required water level to reach the toilet bowl.
This tube must be put directly above the overflow hole to work correctly.
Any faulty position won’t let water flow into the bowl as it should.
Aside from being stuck in the wrong position, a refill tube might be the wrong size.
This may also lead to your toilet keeps running randomly.
How to Fix a Toilet That Keeps Running Randomly?
Despite being a recurrent issue, a running toilet is one of the most uncomplicated troubleshooting plumbing issues.
Generally, the best fix relies on the proper identification of the cause.
Fortunately, only a few components inside the tank can be responsible for this problem.
1. Adjust the Chain’s Length
When you try to fix any of the tank components, you should follow this rule of thumb:
- Always start by removing the tank lid and keeping it safe to avoid cracking.
- Stop the water supply from reaching the toilet.
- Drain the tank completely by flushing it.
These three steps must be repeated every time you open up the tank.
Then locate the connected chain that links the toilet handle and flapper.
Look at it to determine whether it is trapped under the flapper.
Ensure the chain is not bent and placed in a straight position.
Adjust its length so the chain is short enough to prevent the flapper from closing.
Also, ensure it is not too short that it becomes stuck under the flapper valve.
Remember that any length adjustments won’t do any good if the chain is rusty or damaged.
2. Replace the Flapper
Getting a new flapper is not a costly solution.
It is also easy to DIY remove and install the new flapper.
Make sure the tank is completely dry before removing or installing this component.
You can ensure this using a sponge or a microfiber cloth.
However, replacement is only effective in the event of a damaged flapper.
Sometimes, the issue is as simple as wiping an unclean valve.
If the valve turns out to be messy, it is better to use a non-abrasive cleaning pad to wipe it down.
3. Clean the Inlet Valve Assembly
If you pull out this valve and find it clogged, clean it thoroughly.
Make sure you inspect the whole assembly.
Then rinse the valve seal with tap water.
As for the inlet tube, you will need a screwdriver to loosen its adjustment screws.
Also, a small plastic cup will be flipped under it while allowing water to pass through it.
The flushed water should clear any stuck buildup.
All this won’t be effective if the valve is bent or damaged, though.
Unfortunately, a broken valve is unfixable.
It must be changed to regain the full function of the inlet valve.
4. Adjust the Float Height
Adjusting the height of the float arm is a simple task.
The arm has an adjustment screw; you should untighten it a bit to adequately manipulate the height.
However, adjusting the arm’s height won’t fix a defective float.
It will keep leaking gallons of water if left this way.
The fix, in this case, is replacing the bad float with a new one.
It is cheap and easy to install without consulting a professional plumber.
5. Readjust the Toilet Lever
Another simple task that will only take a few minutes is retightening this loose lever’s nuts.
All it takes is rotating the nut in the anticlockwise direction until it is perfectly tight.
Sometimes, however, the lever might become corroded and may deteriorate completely.
This is a rare occurrence, yet it might happen.
If it does, you will need a flush lever replacement.
6. Bring the refill tube to the correct position
Follow the same steps regarding removing the tank lid and disconnecting the water flow.
Then check the tube’s position.
If it is incorrect, then bring it to where it should be.
While readjusting the position, ensure that no tube end remains underwater.
If one of its ends is underwater, you must shorten it.
To do this correctly, you should use a pair of pillars.
This should cut the longer end until it is no longer drowning.
Generally, all these adjustments are easy and quick fixes.
However, if you feel hesitant or need more certainty about making these repairs independently, it is better to talk to an expert plumber.
They will help you with the diagnosis and repair.
They will also spare you the trouble of getting your hands dirty.
However, this comes at a cost.
All these components are relatively cheap, but hiring a pro plumber may take the bill to a three-digit number.