Does your toilet refuse to stop running? Weird gurgling noise coming from your toilet bowl? From water leaks to peculiar noises, toilets can do all sorts of strange things.

Fortunately, with a little troubleshooting, there are many toilet dilemmas you can correct yourself. Here, the specialists at West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. will go over some of the most prevalent toilet problems, what they mean and whether it’s a plumbing issue you can fix yourself—or, if it is better to call in an expert.

1. Why Is My Toilet Running?

If your toilet won't stop running, it is a situation you should fix because it's in all probability also costing you money on your water bill.

A frequent cause of a running toilet is something wrong with the overflow tube. Found in the tank in the back of your toilet, an overflow tube directs excess water from the tank into your toilet bowl so the water level in your tank won't get too high and leak all over your floor. At times, the problem is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube is detached. If that’s the situation, you most likely can just reach into the tank and reattach them. It also might be your toilet is running simply because the overflow tube is is not tall enough to maintain the correct water level and needs to be replaced by one that is the correct height.

Another thing that could cause a toilet to run could be the flapper--which acts as a plug in the bottom of your tank—is malfunctioning and no longer forms the tight seal required to hold water in the tank. Not having a good seal allows water to flow out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a running toilet is caused by something amiss with your toilet float, which is a floating device that maintains the water level in your tank. It achieves this by shutting off your fill valve when the water level raises the float to the appropriate height. If your float is set too high, this will allow the water level to rise too high, and the unwanted water will go in your overflow tube and down into your toilet bowl.

2. Why Does My Toilet Keep Gurgling?

A gurgling toilet is usually caused by a partial blockage in your toilet, drain lines, mainline or an obstruction in your sewage vent. If the problem is a clog in your toilet, you can attempt to correct this by using a plunger or drain snake to loosen the clog. If this does not have any effect, you can examine where your sewage vent exits your home to ensure it is not blocked by debris that would restrict air flow.

If you've confirmed the problem isn't a clog in the toilet or a vent obstruction, it would be a good idea to call a professional such an expert from West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. to evaluate the problem. As the go-to plumber in West Jefferson, West Jefferson Plumbing and Heating, Inc. will investigate whether the noise is caused by a blockage in one of the drain lines directing toilet water out of your home or the mainline that carries waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is It Hard to Flush My Toilet?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, there’s a good chance the problem is with the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain inside a toilet tank that is affixed to the back side of the handle. The other end of the chain is connected to the flapper, which serves as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The quickest way to find out why your toilet is hard to flush is to remove the lid, peek inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process is supposed to work whenever you flush a toilet: you push down the handle, which pulls up the chain, then the chain pulls the flapper up and that enables the water to whoosh out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet will never flush because the chain is caught on something in the tank, which prevents the chain from yanking up the flapper to let out the water. Or, the chain is too long or gets disconnected from either the handle or the flapper. If this happens, unhook the caught chain or reach in and change it to the appropriate length.

Occasionally flappers can get stuck as they age or become worn out. Or, there may be something awry with the handle.

5. Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

A leaking toilet can be a costly problem, potentially causing water damage in and around your bathroom. Usually, a leaky toilet is the result of a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it is often because there is a malfunction in the toilet float.

Cracked gaskets around the connections on the underside of the tank also can let water to leak out of the toilet, as can a damaged toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it attaches to the floor. The majority of these issues are best fixed by an expert plumber. 

6. Why Is My Toilet Not Filling with Water?

A toilet that isn't filling with water often traces back to a problem with the fill valve, which is the valve that lets water into your toilet tank. If the tube is broken or is clogged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it may not be allowing water into the tank.

Another common cause for your toilet not filling with water is something faulty with the float, which is a device that prompts the fill valve to stop bringing water into the tank when the water has gotten to the correct level. The fill valve does this when the water level lifts the float to a predetermined height. It may be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water can attain the appropriate level. Or, fixing a toilet not filling with water could require adjusting or exchanging the fill valve.