Does your toilet keep running? Strange gurgling noise arising from your toilet bowl? From water leakages to unusual noises, toilets can do all sorts of frustrating things.

The good thing is, with a little troubleshooting, there are many toilet problems you can fix on your own. Here, the specialists at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will go over some of the most frequent 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 Does My Toilet Always Run?

If your toilet keeps running all the time, it is an issue you should fix because it's in all likelihood also costing you money on your water bill.

A typical culprit that causes a running toilet is something wrong with the overflow tube. Positioned in the tank in the back of your toilet, an overflow tube removes extra water from the tank into your toilet bowl so the water level in your tank won't get too high and overflow the top of the tank. At times, the trouble is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube got detached. If that’s the scenario, you can reach into the tank and reattach them. It also could be your toilet is running simply because the overflow tube is isn't tall enough for the water level and needs to be replaced by one that is the appropriate height.

Another thing that could cause a toilet to run could be the flapper--which functions as a plug in the bottom of your tank—is damaged and no longer forms the tight seal necessary to hold water in the tank. This enables water to seep through or around the damaged flapper and flow out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

At times, a running toilet is caused by something awry 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 a preset height. If your float is set too high, this permits the water level to rise too high, and the excess water will go in your overflow tube and down into your toilet bowl.

2. Why Does My Toilet Make a Gurgling Sound?

A gurgling toilet is often caused by a partial blockage in your toilet, drain lines, mainline or something blocking your sewage vent. If the reason for the noise is a clog in your toilet, you can try fixing this by using a plunger or drain snake to remove the clog. If this does not have any effect, you can check where your sewage vent exits your home to ensure it is not blocked by debris that would prevent air flow.

If you've confirmed the problem isn't a clog in the toilet or a vent obstruction, you should contact a professional such an expert from Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to evaluate the problem. As the go-to plumber in Greater Richmond, Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will check to see if the sound is due to a blockage in one of the drain lines directing toilet water out of your home or the mainline that removes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Won't My Toilet Flush?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, there’s a good chance the problem lies 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 linked to the flapper, which functions as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The quickest way to get to the bottom of why your toilet is challenging to flush is to lift up the lid, peek inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process should 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 won’t flush because the chain is stuck on something in the tank, which stops the chain from lifting 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, release the caught chain or reach in and shorten it to the appropriate length.

At times flappers can get stuck when they get old or become worn out. Or, there might be something wrong with the handle.

5. What Is Causing My Toilet To Leak?

A dripping toilet can be a costly situation, potentially leading to water damage in and around your bathroom. Often, 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 failure in the toilet float.

Cracked gaskets around the connections on the underside of the tank also can allow water to leak out of the toilet, as can a broken toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it connects to the floor. Most of these issues are best fixed by a professional plumber. 

6. Why Is My Toilet Not Filling with Water?

A toilet that isn't filling with water in many cases indicates a problem with the fill valve, which is what fills your toilet tank with water. If the tube is broken or is clogged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it might not be allowing water into the tank.

Another typical 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 reached the correct level. The fill valve does this when the water level lifts the float to a set height. It may be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water is allowed to reach the correct level. Or, fixing a toilet not filling with water might require adjusting or changing the fill valve.