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

Fortunately, with a little troubleshooting, there are lots of toilet problems you can correct on your own. Here, the specialists at Air-Right Energy Design 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 Does My Toilet Always Run?

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

A frequent reason for a running toilet is something wrong with the overflow tube. Located 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 does not get too high and spill over the top of the tank. Occasionally, the problem is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube got detached. If that’s the case, you most likely can just reach into the tank and reattach them. It also might be your toilet is running because the overflow tube is too short for the water level and needs to be replaced by one that is the appropriate height.

Another reason for 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 causes water to escape out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

Occasionally a running toilet is caused by something awry with your toilet float, which is a floating device that controls the water level in your tank. It accomplishes this by shutting off your fill valve when the water level raises the float to a predetermined 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 Keep Gurgling?

A gurgling toilet is usually caused by a partial obstruction 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 attempt to correct this by using a plunger or drain snake to release the clog. If this does not have any effect, you can look at where your sewage vent exits your home to confirm it is not blocked by debris that would restrict air flow.

If you've done these two trouble shooting tasks and the toilet is still gurgling or bubbling, you should call a professional such an expert from Air-Right Energy Design to evaluate the problem. As the go-to plumber in Manassas, Air-Right Energy Design will check to see if the sound is due to a blockage in one of the drain lines transporting toilet water out of your home or the mainline that removes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is My Toilet Hard to Flush?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, it's probable that the problem lies the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain inside your toilet tank that is hooked to the back side of the handle. The other end of the chain is linked to the flapper, which acts as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The easiest way to figure out why your toilet is challenging to flush is to lift up the lid, peer inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process ought to work anytime you flush a toilet: you push down the handle, which pulls up the chain, then the chain pulls the flapper up and that permits the water to drain out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet will never flush because the chain is stuck on something in the tank, which keeps the chain from pulling 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 as they age or become worn out. It's also possible there might be something wrong with the handle.

5. Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

A dripping toilet can be a costly problem, potentially leading to water damage in and around your bathroom. Usually, a leaky toilet is due to a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it could be a malfunction 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 weakened toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it connects to the floor. Often, 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 in many cases indicates a problem with the fill valve, which is what fills your toilet tank with water. If the tube has failed or is clogged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it may not be allowing water into the tank.

Another likely cause for your toilet not filling with water is something wrong with the float, which is a device that signals the fill valve to stop letting water into the tank when the water has reached the correct level. The fill valve gives the signal to stop 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 can attain the appropriate level. Or, fixing a toilet not filling with water could require adjusting or replacing the fill valve.