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toilet runs occasionally


My toilet runs by itself for a short amount of time occasionally. I've read on the internet that that is caused by a bad flapper or bad flapper seat. It’s only been doing this in the past week or so.

All of the internal parts of the toilet have been replaced by the plumber recently. They also were replaced less than a year ago. I'm not impressed with my plumber but my landlady is paying for it and likes them so ok.

Before I condemn the plumber or the parts he uses, I want to be sure it wasn't anything I did.

The toilet has overflowed too many times in the past. I now flush my poop down in the first flush and take as many flushes as I need to flush however much toilet paper I need to use. If I hear the whole thing go boom as it hits a horizontal pipe nearby, I know that everything has gone down.

Additionally, in an effort to prevent the toilet from overflowing I have done two things:
(The toilet is using a Wolverine Brass Big Orange harsh water flush valve #57732 and a Fluidmaster Pro 45 fill valve.)

1) I lowered the water adjustment adjustment rod for the float cup to a lower position.
2) I put a plastic jug in the tank to take up space, and filled it with water to keep it in place.

The water level in the tank is noticeably lower maybe by an inch or more than what it used to be measured by where the stain on the tank wall is.

Have I caused this new problem of the toilet running by itself? If so, what do I do to stop it?

One thing the plumber said might play into this. He said that the new parts he put in this latest time would be a more powerful flush than what had been in there before. He thought that would be good for preventing the toilet from backing up. It did have a more powerful flush but it also caused the toilet to overflow more often when it backed up. That’s why I lowered the level. I want less water in that bowl so I don’t have to worry about it overflowing again. I still watch it (and listen to it to be sure it makes all the right noises) to be sure it flushes ok.

Many thanks. I always appreciate the help I get here. I'd be happy to add any info if needed.


John L

Re: toilet runs occasionally

it sounds like there is a leak on the flapper and flapper seat. to check this let the toilet tank fill then shut off the water fill valve. let the toilet stand over night. in the morning if the tank is empty then the flapper and flapper seat need more work.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

Its possible for gunk to build up on a brand new flapper Check the tank for cleanliness.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

Toilet parts, the ones you find in the stores, are inexpensive, in other words, cheap. That means: not very high quality.

Replace the flapper.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

Thanks for the replies. My heat went out yesterday so I haven't had time to try your suggestions. Hopefully will let you know tomorrow.



PS I'm also not getting e-mail notices despite being signed up for them. (My correct address is listed...)

Ryan Z
Re: toilet runs occasionally

I just dealt with the same type of problem, I found that the flapper was slightly warped and therefore wouldn't seal completely. Also check to make sure it moves freely and isn't getting hung up on anything. Hope this helps.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

I would figure out why the toilet is overflowing before I worry about it running. But best way to figure out if it is the flapper is put some food coloring in the tank and see if it leaks into the bowl. But I would get a plumber in with a camera and see what is blocking it and causing it to overflow. At least get a snake through there.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

Thanks for the additional help. I haven't tried them yet but I have some good ideas.

I'm hesitant to ask the plumber to look into it since he's pretty cranky. He won't like that I've lowered the level or put the plastic jug in there. I've asked him to snake it before (and all the rest of my drains except the bathtub which never backs up) but he doesn't think it/they needs it. I'm tempted to buy a snake myself and do it anyway.

I admit I use alot of toilet paper. That's why I do it in two stages, poop - flush and then TP and flush. It hasn't backed up using that method. If I don't hear a slight bang on the horizontal pipe that runs nearby as it flushes then I worry. (Both poop and paper cause that to happen.)

We have hard water here in Rockland County, NY. The plumber doesn't think the pipes are sclerotic due to that. The sink in the bathroom and the kitchen back up regularly. I've used Draino or something similar in them a few times. Mostly I run hot water. I've even tried that in the toilet but now know that could be a bad thing to do.

(I'm still not receiving replies by e-mail yet I seem to be set up for that. Any ideas why?)

Re: toilet runs occasionally

"I'm still not receiving replies by e-mail yet I seem to be set up for that. Any ideas why?"

We have no control on what's going on in this forum.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

"I admit I use alot of toilet paper. That's why I do it in two stages, poop - flush and then TP and flush."

Thank you for the vivid description...it's like being there.

Re: toilet runs occasionally

There are other reasons why a toilet will run on occasionally. Sometimes there is an issue with the chain, it will get a kink in it or it gets too long and gets caught under the flapper, but with those, if you jiggle the handle, the leaking stops. The plastic jug you put in there can also interfere with the flapper. I would suggest that you remove it and use a brick instead. Use something that is heavy and will stay in place.

If the plumber just replaced the flapper and not the whole assembly, or even in some cases where the whole assembly is replaced, the flapper hinge could have ridden up the overflow pipe. sometimes the flapper is attached tot he overflow pipe with a hole in the rubber, fits like a sleeve and the sleeve might need to be lowered a little.


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