Problems with the flapper are the most common reason for a running toilet. Turn off the water and drain the toilet, then look at the flapper. Adjust the chain if it is too long or short. A chain that is too long can get caught under the flapper, while a chain that is too short can pull up on the valve when it should not. You can use wire cutters if it is too long.
You’ll also want to look for any problems with the actual flapper, or see if it needs to be cleaned to help it seal better. You can soak it in a bowl of vinegar for about half an hour and then scrub it.
If the flapper is not the issue, check the water level. If it is too high, water will constantly be draining into the overflow tube in the middle of the tank that connects the tank and bowl. Look at it with the water running and the tank full, and see if water keeps draining into the tube. If so, you can adjust the water level by lowering the float.
Lastly, if those are not the issues, check the fill valve. Turn off the water, flush the toilet, disconnect the supply line, and purchase a replacement for the old assembly. You’ll have to replace it entirely.
One of the best ways to prevent common toilet issues in the future such as a running toilet is to replace the insides of your toilet’s tank every 5 years. Think of it as regular maintenance, just as you would maintain other appliances in your home.
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