This common annoyance occurs because there is an internal water leak in the toilet. Although it doesn’t seem to be causing any harm, it is actually wasting hundreds of gallons of water which you have probably noticed on your water bill.

So why is your toilet running all the time and what can you do about it?

Step 1: Check the “toilet flapper”

The toilet flapper is a common culprit for running toilets. These flaps are a seal for your toilet’s water tank. As they age, they can decay and crack. When this happens, the toilet flapper that is supposed to raise the lift arm in the tank, by pulling on a chain attached to the toilet flapper, has a hard time raising so water can fill the toilet bowl. However, where the issue occurs is when the flapper fails to drop back into position to seal the tank.

The cracks or damage allow water to continue to leak into the toilet bowl, so you hear that constant running water. If you look at the toilet flapper and it is clearly a little worse for wear, you can try replacing it yourself. They are available at your local hardware store. You have to turn off the water supply on the valves beneath the toilet, flush and then remove leftover water in the bowl. You can then unhook the flapper and attach the new one.

Step 2: Check the chain

If the flapper seems fine, it could be the chain attached to the flapper causing the issue. In some cases, the chain length can make it hard for the flapper to connect fully to seal the tank. When it’s too long, it gets caught beneath the flapper, so you just have to unhook the chain and rehook it so it’s shorter. You’ll have to do a test flush to make sure you get it in the ideal spot because if you miss the mark, the seal won’t work at all if the chain is too short.

Step 3: Check the toilet tank float ball and arm

These parts are pretty obvious based on their name. When you lift the lid from the toilet tank the plastic ball is the first thing you’ll see. It is attached to an arm and together they rise and fall as water empties and refills in the tank. Their purpose is to help monitor water levels and when the ball reaches a certain level, the water stops running. To see if it’s working properly, you need to lift the float arm and see if that stops the running water.

If the ball isn’t high enough to stop the running water, it might be hitting the tank because the arm is off-kilter. You can bend it away from the tank wall and see if this helps. If it appears the ball and arm are aligned, then the ball might be cracked which will cause it to fill with water and sink to the bottom of the tank. When this happens, the water keeps running because the ball isn’t reaching its proper position to stop it. All that water feeds into an overflow tube and just keeps running. This is a simple fix as you can just replace the float ball.

Step 4: See if the running has stopped

If you’ve checked the toilet flapper and replaced it, and adjusted the float arm or replaced the float ball and you still have that annoying running water sound, things are a little worse. Your last hope is that the entire ballcock assembly has to be replaced. You can head to the hardware store to find a ballcock assembly kit, which usually provides instructions to help the DIYer do the installation themselves. However, this gets a little more complicated and might be best left to the professionals at New Era Plumbing & HVAC. Also, should you do all of these steps including a complete replacement of the ballcock assembly and the toilet still runs, you might need a new toilet.

Find Long-Term Solutions

This is where we come in. As your Dracut plumber, we can quickly rid you of that annoying running water sound and save you money on water wastage. Give us a call today!

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I am proud of the skills and knowledge I have gained during my 15 years working Plumbing and HVAC. I started as an apprentice, assigned to do basic tasks like carrying tools and materials, drilling holes and digging trenches. I was hungry to learn and expand my career opportunities, so I enrolled in an after-school training program for both my HVAC training and Journeyman license. I loved learning about both trades and felt like I was finally on the right track. When I passed my Journeyman Plumbing exam, I started to do side jobs which allowed me to experience the business owner side of things. This completely changed my perspective on my career and drove me to continue to pursue owning my own Plumbing & HVAC business. I continued my training and earned my Master’s license. With the support of my amazing wife, I started my own business SDP Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in 2016. Three years later, we rebranded the company as New Era Plumbing & HVAC. I could not be more proud of my career path and my company. Our core values are: Faith, Family, Empathy, Giving, Service and Quality. I train our team on adhering to these every day. We love taking care of our customers and are proud to serve our community.

Danny Pen


1 New Boston Rd Unit D,

Dracut, MA 01826

Contact us at (978) 344-6833 to get started!