How to Fix a Gushing Toilet

Do not use this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it does not seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability from your usage of it.

Gosh, that toilet never stops filling up! Or that toilet makes a dribbling noise all night long. 

It doesn’t take much to fix it, and can cost next to nothing. Here’s how:

Turn Off Toilet Water Supply

Turn the water off. Behind the toilet, next to the wall, there’s a little valve handle. Turn it to left, counterclockwise, until the water is shut off.

Flush the toilet.

Sometimes, this might be enough to fix the problem.  The change in water pressure unsticks whatever was sticking in the valve.

Turn the water back on. If it works, we’re done!


Clean the Toilet Flush Gasket

Lift the lid off the tank. It’s porcelain, and it’s heavy. Move it slowly and set it down carefully.

Here’s a tip of the trade: this is clean water, just like in your sink. It doesn’t get dirty until it goes down into the bowl. You can put your hand in it – you could drink it, but it’s not advised. Ick.

Take a look at the flap. In most toilets, there’s a rubber flap at the bottom of the tank. It lets the clean water flow down into the bowl. You’ll find it at the end of a chain or a rubber strap.

Give us a flush, and watch the flap. It should open up, and then slap down over the whole.

If it seems to drift down, chances are high there’s a bubble caught on the flap’s underside. Put your finger into the pocket on the underside. This should clear the bubble.

Check the lip. The flap drops down o to a lip around the hole. If your toilet is old, or if your place has hard water, gunk can build up on this lip, and cause the flap to not sit flat.

This is gross, but run your finger around the lip. It’ll be slimy, but  knock off anything that’s blocking the flap. Do the same thing to the underside of the flap – it’s edge can get kinda slimy, too.

Check the chain. When you pull the flush handle, it lifts a rod. A chain connects the rod to the flap. If the chain gets kinked, it might hold the flap too high, letting it leak.

Flush again, and watch the chain. Use your fingers to work out any kinks in it.

FYI – If the chain breaks, or gets disconnected, the toilet won’t flush at all. That’s an easy fix – connect the chain!

Examine the Toilet Water Level Float

Take a look at the float. There are a few valve systems out there, but most involve a float. The float either fits around the filling tube, or is a black ball floating at the end of a rod.

When the water rises in the tank, it lifts the float. When the float reaches the top, it shuts off the incoming water supply.

If the float has water in it, it won’t reach the top, and water will dribble into the tank.

If the float is on a rod, unscrew it by turning it counterclockwise. Once you’ve got it unscrewed, shake any water out of it.

Screw the float back in. If the water still doesn’t shut off when the float reaches the top, it might be out of adjustment. Turn the float so thatnit sits high in the water. That should shut off the supply.

Check the Toilet Flush Valve

Check the valve. Lift the float as high as it will go. The water should shut off. if it doesn’t, we have a page called How to Fix a Seeping Toilet that will fix that.

If it doesn’t, the valve may simple need to be replaced. Go down to the your local home improvement center or hardware store and pick up a universal toilet repair set. It will cost about twenty bucks, but contains everything you need to replace all of the moving parts.

Twenty dollars. Half an hour’s time, and you’re back to flushing like a pro!

Back to How to Flushes


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