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How to Fix a Running Toilet

To stop a running toilet, check the lift chain and toilet handle first to solve the most common issues. If your toilet keeps running and seems to be losing water unnecessarily, try some minor adjustments before calling a plumber. Follow our three easy steps to learn how to fix your running toilet.    

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Clean and Adjust Handle and Mounting Nut

    Clean and Adjust Handle and Mounting Nut.

    The first step to fixing a running toilet is to clean and adjust the handle mounting nut so the handle operates smoothly. Take care — the mounting nut has reversed threads. That means you should loosen the nut by turning it clockwise, and tighten it by turning it counterclockwise. Caution: over tightening the mounting nut could potentially crack the tank.

  2. Step 2 Adjust the Lift Chain

    Adjust the Lift Chain.

    Adjust the lift chain so it hangs straight from the handle lever with about 1/2 inch of slack. Remove any excess slack in the chain by hooking it on a different hole in the handle lever, or by hooking it onto different links. If your toilet has a lift chain, this step should be enough to stop your running toilet.    

  3. Step 3 Make Sure the Lift Wires are Straight

    Make Sure the Lift Wires are Straight.

    Lift wires are found on toilets without lift chains. If your toilet has lift wires, make sure they are straight and operate smoothly when the handle is pushed. A sticky handle often can be fixed simply by straightening a bent lift wire. That should make your toilet stop running. If your toilet keeps running, call a plumber to investigate further issues.    

What You Need for This Project

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