Why is the Water in my Toilet Always Moving? – Fox Plumbing & Heating (2023)

  • March 2, 2023
  • Fox Plumbing

Are you tired of the constant sound of your toilet water moving? Does it feel like your porcelain throne has a mind of its own?

If you’re experiencing a constantly moving toilet, you’re not alone.

Many homeowners experience this issue, but the good news is that it’s usually not a major plumbing problem.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the common reasons why your toilet water is always moving and what you can do to fix it.

How a Toilet Works

Toilets may seem like simple fixtures, but they have a complex system of parts that work together to efficiently remove waste from your home.

Here’s a breakdown of the basic components of a toilet and how they work:

Toilet Tank

The toilet tank is the upper portion of the toilet that holds the water used for flushing. When you flush the toilet, water from the toilet tank is released into the toilet bowl. This pushes waste through the drainpipe and into the sewer or septic system.

Fill Valve

The fill valve pulls water into the toilet tank after a flush. When the toilet tank is empty, the fill valve opens and water fills the tank until it reaches the predetermined fill line.

Flush Valve

The flush valve is a rubber flapper located at the bottom of the toilet tank that opens when the toilet is flushed. It allows water to flow from the toilet tank into the bowl, creating enough force to push waste through the trap and into the drainpipe.

Toilet Bowl

The toilet bowl is the lower part of the toilet where waste and water are collected before being flushed away. It’s usually made of ceramic and is connected to the drainpipe via a trap.

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Toilet Float or Float Ball

The float is a small device located in the tank that helps regulate the water level. When the tank is full, the float rises and applies pressure to the valve, causing it to shut off and stop the flow of water into the tank. Conversely, when the water level drops, the float falls and reduces the pressure on the valve, allowing it to open and allow water to flow into the tank again.

Toilet Trap

The trap is a curved section of the bowl that holds a small amount of water and prevents sewer gas from entering your home. It’s located between the bowl and the drainpipe.

Trip Lever

The trip lever is the handle on the outside of the tank that activates the flush valve when pressed. When you push the trip lever, it lifts the chain attached to the flush valve, causing it to open and release water into the toilet bowl.

Wax Ring

The wax ring is a seal that sits between the base of the toilet and the flange on the drainpipe. It creates a tight seal to prevent water and waste from leaking out of the toilet and into your home.

Toilet Rim Jets

Rim jets are small holes located under the rim of the bowl that help distribute water evenly around the bowl during a flush. This helps to ensure that waste is properly pushed through the trap and into the drainpipe.

Why Does My Toilet Keep Running?

A running toilet is a common problem with several possible causes. Let’s take a closer look at each cause:

Faulty Fill Valve

The fill valve regulates the water in the tank. Unfortunately, a faulty fill valve can lead to a constantly running toilet. To fix the issue, the fill valve may need to be adjusted. You might also consider getting a new fill valve to replace the old one.

Leaky Flush Valve

A flush valve is a large valve located at the bottom of the toilet tank that controls the release of water into the bowl during a flush.

When you press the flush handle, the flush valve opens, allowing water to flow rapidly from the tank into the bowl, which then carries waste and wastewater away.

If the flush valve is dirty, damaged, or not sealing properly, water can leak out of the tank and into the bowl, causing a running toilet.

In this case, you may need to clean or replace the flush valve to fix the problem.

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Faulty Flapper Valve

A flapper valve is a smaller valve that sits over the flush valve and seals the opening between the tank and the bowl.

When you flush the toilet, the flapper valve lifts up, allowing water to flow from the tank into the bowl.

Once the water has drained from the tank, the flapper valve falls back down into place, sealing off the opening and allowing the tank to refill with water.

After the water has drained from the tank, the flapper valve falls back into place, creating a seal on the flush valve opening to prevent water from leaking out.

A damaged, worn, or improperly seated flapper valve causes continuous water flow into the bowl, leading to a running toilet.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure can cause the toilet to continuously fill and run. You can test your home’s water pressure with a pressure gauge, or you can call a plumber to adjust it to the appropriate level.

Malfunctioning Float

The float is a small device that regulates the water level in the tank. If it’s set too high, it can cause the toilet to continuously run. You can adjust the float by bending the float arm downward or by adjusting the float screw, depending on the type of float mechanism you have.

Stuck Trip Lever

If the trip lever gets stuck in the flush position, it can cause the toilet to continuously run. Try jiggling the handle to see if it releases. If it doesn’t, you may need to open the tank and adjust or replace the handle mechanism.

Wrong Size Refill Tube

The refill tube is responsible for refilling the tank after a flush. If it’s not sized correctly for your toilet, it can cause the water level in the tank to drop too low, leading to a running toilet. You can adjust the refill tube or replace it with a properly sized one to fix the issue.


If there’s a blockage in the toilet’s drainpipe, it can cause the water level in the tank to continuously drop, leading to a running toilet. You can try using a plunger or plumbing snake to clear the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call a plumber to locate and remove the blockage.

Tangled Chain

A tangled toilet chain can prevent the flapper inside the tank from closing completely, causing water to continuously flow into the bowl. This results in the tank refilling and wasting water, potentially leading to higher utility bills. To fix the issue, untangle or replace the chain connecting the handle to the flapper.

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How to Fix a Running Toilet

It’s important to address a running toilet promptly to prevent water waste—and to save your water bill.

If you’re unable to reach professional services immediately, the following steps can help you fix a running toilet:

Step 1: Turn off the water supply line to the toilet. This is typically located behind or beside the toilet. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply.

Step 2: Remove the tank lid and set it aside.

Step 3: Check the flapper valve located at the bottom of the tank. If it’s worn or damaged, it can cause the toilet to keep running. Inspect the flapper valve and replace it if necessary.

Step 4: Check the overflow tube. The overflow tube is a vertical tube in the center of the tank that prevents the tank from overflowing. If it’s too high, it can cause the toilet to keep running. Adjust the tube so that it’s no higher than an inch below the flush valve assembly.

Step 5: Check the fill valve. The fill valve is responsible for refilling the tank after a flush. If it’s not working properly, it can cause the toilet to keep running. Inspect the fill valve and replace it if necessary.

Step 6: Check the water supply line. If the water supply is clogged or damaged, it can cause the toilet to keep running. Inspect the line and clear any blockages or replace the line if necessary.

Step 7: Turn the water supply line back on and flush the toilet to ensure it’s working properly.

When Is It Time to Contact a Plumber?

While some issues can be fixed with simple adjustments, others may require the expertise of a professional plumber. Here are some situations when you should contact a plumber:

  • You’re not sure what’s causing the running toilet.
  • You don’t have the necessary tools or parts to fix the issue.
  • You’re uncomfortable or inexperienced with plumbing repairs.
  • You’ve tried to fix the issue yourself but it persists.

Benefits of Professional Plumbing Services

One of the most significant benefits of getting professional plumbing services is expertise.

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Professional plumbers have extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing and fixing a wide range of plumbing issues quickly and efficiently. They can identify the root cause of the problem and provide a lasting solution that prevents future problems.

Another benefit of professional plumbing services is safety.

Plumbing repairs can be dangerous if not performed correctly, especially when dealing with gas lines or sewage systems. Professional plumbers are trained and equipped to handle these situations safely and prevent further damage or injury.

Professional plumbers can also help you save time and money.

Attempting to fix plumbing problems yourself can be time-consuming and may not provide a permanent solution. Moreover, if you don’t have the necessary tools or parts, you may end up spending more money trying to fix the problem.

Plumbers have the necessary tools and equipment to complete repairs quickly and efficiently, saving you time and money in the long run.

So, the next time you ask yourself “why does my toilet keep running?” consider getting professional plumbing services ASAP.

Let Fox Plumbing and Heating Help

At Fox Plumbing and Heating, we understand that plumbing problems can be both inconvenient and stressful. That’s why we’re committed to providing exceptional customer service and communication throughout the repair process.

We’ll keep you informed every step of the way, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your plumbing system is in good hands.

Our team of professional plumbers has seen it all when it comes to running toilets and other plumbing issues. We’re confident that we can provide a fast and effective solution for you. Whether you need a simple toilet repair or a more complex installation, we’ve got you covered.

Contact Fox Plumbing and Heating at (206) 654-4986 today to schedule an appointment with our team.



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