Not Again!

Finally, you achieve the perfect start to your day. You wake up a little earlier than usual and sit down to the breakfast you finally had time to make: eggs, toast with jam, and bacon. As the birds chirp and the coffee pot gently sputters out your morning brew, you sit back and feel that everything is right in the world. Then, you become conscious of a subtle, breathy hiss permeating the soothing melody of your morning…

The toilet is running, and has been all night.

Main Toilet Components

A toilet can function thanks to its many components that leverage the force of gravity. Water waiting to be flushed sits in the tank, which is positioned above and behind the bowl. Inside the tank in descending order are the fill valve, float, chain, and flapper. The float is a balloon-like component that is connected to the fill valve with a straight rod. When the float sits atop the water at the tank’s predetermined fill level, the fill valve remains closed and does not allow water to enter the tank.

Inside the tank, the toilet handle horizontally connects to the chain via a bar. The chain connects vertically to the flapper at the bottom of the tank. When you initiate a flush with the handle, it pulls up the chain which in turn lifts the flapper. Water flows from the uncovered flapper opening into the bowl, and then drains out through the siphon: the molded tube-like channel at the base of the toilet.

At this point, the float has dropped low enough to open the fill valve. Water pours into the tank until the float valve returns to its usual position, closing the fill valve. The familiar post-flush noise is the sound of water coming out of the fill valve. When that sound doesn’t stop, you know you’re dealing with a running toilet.

Quick Tip:

If a leak is very small, you may not notice it. Add a few drops of food coloring into the tank, wait 30 minutes, and see if the color has tinted the water in the bowl. If so, there is a leak.

What Causes a Running Toilet?

A running toilet indicates an internal leak: water moving from the tank into the bowl without the assistance of the flushing mechanism. This can occur due to damaged or improperly configured components.


The flapper seals the opening at the bottom of the tank, enabling water to return to the appropriate level after a flush. A flapper may fail due to decay, damage, or buildup of mineral deposits that prevent a complete seal.

Fix it: Clean buildup or replace the flapper.


If the chain is not the correct length, it will impede the toilet’s function. A chain that is too short will not allow the flapper to snugly cover the opening at the bottom of the tank; too long, and the chain may actually get caught on itself and cause the same problem, or it can fall under the flapper, preventing it from sealing.

Fix it: Adjust the chain so that it is the correct length


Your running toilet may not be caused by a true leak, but a malfunction of the float. If you lift the float arm attached to the float itself and the running stops, there is likely an issue with the float. A damaged float may take on water and lose buoyancy, meaning it will no longer sit high enough to close the fill valve regardless of water level. This can also be the case if the float pushes or rubs up on the walls of the tank.

Fix it: Replace a damaged float, or adjust the positioning so that it moves without contacting the tank wall (you can gently bend the float arm to accomplish this).

Toilet Leaks Are Bigger Than Your Bathroom

Wasted water hurts your budget and the environment

A running toilet may not seem like a big deal, especially when compared to other, more disastrous toilet problems. However, you could be wasting money by paying for the water that is sneakily leaking day and night. Wasting water is also damaging to communities and the environment; we are all responsible for using water appropriately, and this includes ensuring our water-reliant appliances are functioning as efficiently as possible.

Call A Professional Plumber

An efficient fix that saves you time

We understand the appeal of a DIY approach to repairs. They can save money, but going it alone has its drawbacks: time spent investigating and pinpointing the problem, researching, buying the wrong parts, missing a subtle issue, or making unnecessary replacements. The knowledgeable plumbers at Apex Plumbing Solutions in Danville can fix your toilet efficiently, saving you time and effort. We can diagnose issues quickly, find the right parts for your specific toilet, and resolve the problem with the right tools.