How to Fix a Seeping Toilet

Please Note: 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.

Here’s a quick, inexpensive way to fix a running toilet. 

If the toilet’s gushing water, the valve between the tank and bowl isn’t seated. Take a look at How to Fix a Gushing Toilet for that one.

This procedure is for the toilet that makes a continuous seeping sound, and seems to constantly run.

Examine the Toilet’s Hardware

First, take the lid off of the tank.

Inside, you’ll find a pair of columns. The one on the right is hooked to the handle – that’s the flushing mechanism. 

The other one is the refill system, and that’s what’s leaking. There’s a refill tube on the left that passes through the hole at the bottom of the tank. It connects to your water supply on the other side of that hole. It has a valve at the top to let water refill the tank. 

You’ll see a skinny post attached to a lever that goes under the cap of the refill tube. There’s a float on the other end of the skinny post. When the water goes up, the float lifts the post, which closes the valve under the cap. 

The top of the post has a knurled surface, which you can turn to can raise or lower the float. Try turning it now, and see if you can get the toilet to stop running. If you can, voila, you are done.

If it doesn’t stop, or if you flush it and it starts leaking again, chances are very high that the seal inside the refill supply tube has gone bad.

Rework the Toilet Refill System

First, turn off the water supply down below the bowl.

Next, pry the cap off the top of the refill tube. The cap holds on pretty tight, so you’ll need a little bit of force to get it off.

Now, pry the skinny post off of the little arm – it’s designed to snap off of there.

With the cap off, and the post disconnected, grab the arm at its pivot, and gently twist it counterclockwise. It will come off.

Now flip the arm assembly upside down. That round rubber wheel is the seal, and that’s what’s actually leaking. 

Now you have to get in the car and drive to your local home improvement store. Bring the arm assembly with you for reference.

The choices for replacement parts is overwhelming, so be calm, take a deep breath, and know that you’re only looking for a Toilet Fill Valve Seal. You could order one online, but the shipping could be way more than the value of the seal. The thing only costs about three dollars.

Install Replacement Parts in the Toilet

Back home, pull the old seal out of the arm assembly. Put the new seal into the assembly – it only goes one way.

Put the arm assembly onto the refill tube and gently turn it clockwise. It should latch down with about a quarter turn.

Now snap the skinny shaft onto the arm – there’s a little groove for the arm right under the knurled knob at the top.

Finally, snap the cap back onto the refill tube. 

Turn on the water and give yourself a high five. Silence!

No plumber, which would have cost you at least thirty-five dollars plus parts, no replacement refill tube for ten bucks, and no more wasted water. All it took was a little gas, three bucks, and, really, about fifteen minutes of your time.

And now, you own this repair.

Back to How to Flushes


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