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How to Fix a Leaking and Runny Toilet

Leaking Flapper

This happens when water leaks through the hole at the bottom center of the tank under the flapper because it does not seat properly. Sometimes the flapper chain gets twisted, snagged, or caught on the handle arm, which shortens the chain’s length, holding up the flapper so it can’t seat fully. The ideal chain length has some slack when the handle arm is at rest and the flapper is fully seated. Make sure the flapper chain is untangled.

Flush the toilet a few times to assure the chain does not re-tangle and the flapper seats properly. There have been cases of corroded handle arms, rusted chains, and broken links. You can use string, a twist tie, and a paper clip to temporarily repair flapper chains. Later, replace the old chain with a new one.

Considering the flapper itself, there have been cases of flappers so old some of its rubber has been eaten away by water; the rubber loop the chain hooks into has disintegrated; and, one or both of the hinges have eroded or merely slipped off its posts. To repair or replace the flapper:

Test the Flapper – With tank lid off, handle at rest, and toilet seat up, push down the flapper. If the water stops running into the bowl, the flapper needs to be repaired or replaced.

Test the Chain and Hinges – Make sure the chain end is fastened securely to the flapper loop, so the flush handle operates the flapper correctly. Make sure the flapper hinges are attached securely onto the posts or bottom overflow tube, so the flapper floats up and down freely.

If the flapper still does not seat correctly, then install a new flapper.

Shut off the Water – Turn the shut-off valve clockwise to shut off the tank’s water supply. Remove tank water by flushing the toilet.

Remove the Old Flapper – Disconnect the chain from the top of the flapper. Disconnect the flapper’s hinges from their posts. Remove the old flapper.

Install the New Flapper – Attach the chain to the new flapper and set the flapper in place, attaching it to the hinge. Connect the chain to the flush handle arm. Turn the water back on.

Running Overflow Tube

Sometimes, tank water is flowing over the top of the overflow tube. Check the tank water level; optimal level is ½-inch below the top of the overflow tube. If water flows into the top of the overflow tube, then the float assembly’s adjustable float is not working properly. Readjust the float by increasing the length of the rod connecting the float to its arm. If the water continues to overflow, replace the adjustable float.

Turn the Water Off – Turn the shut-off valve to shut off the tank’s water supply. Remove tank water by flushing the toilet, scooping out leftover water, and drying with rags.

Remove the Old Float Assembly – Loosen and remove the nut at the bottom of the float assembly at underside of the tank. Unclip the float arm from the overflow tube and remove the old float assembly.

Install the New Float Assembly – To install a new float assembly, reverse the above steps. Clip the float arm to the overflow tube and secure the nut at the bottom of the float assembly at underside of the tank. Turn the water back on and adjust the float to the proper depth.

Learning Centers that Cater to Do It Yourself Projects

On the internet, there are numerous learning centers that teach do it yourself gutter installation, gutter repair, roofing installation, roofing repairs, and interior and exterior home improvements. The learning center uses step-by-step video tutorials, PDF e-book downloads, online slideshows, and books. The DIY learning tutorials and projects are a way for these sites to improve people’s DIY home improvement skills if they are looking for ways on cost cutting or cost saving home improvement projects.

Do it yourself began to increase as a modern trend as far back as the 1950’s. However, it was in the 1970’s when DIY project oriented magazines began to proliferate in the mass market. This was followed by DIY books. By the 80’s and 90’s, magazines, books, radio shows, and even television shows on do it yourself projects and advice was spreading the trend everywhere. More craft specific DIY publications began to come out such as for carpentry, landscaping, and specific home improvement subjects.

With the advent of the internet, many websites that focus on specific do it yourself projects began to proliferate. No less than 4 major DIY websites carry the domain name of DIY or do it yourself in the .com and .org domain. Many others are more project or craft specific. DIY learning centers have several types of tutorial or instructional methods:


When YouTube came out in 2005 as a video sharing website, instructional and tutorial videos became more accessible because of the ease of uploading, viewing, and sharing.

Acrobat Reader or PDF

PDF or Portable Document Format is a way to view, create, manipulate, print, and upload files such as step-by-step educational DIY instructions. When uploaded on DIY sites, visitors can simply download them for free or for a small free, or in exchange for registration. The PDF format ensures the permanency of the document since it cannot be changed or manipulated for re-uploading.

Online Presentations

Back in the late 90’s up to the late 2000’s, PowerPoint was being uploaded to serve as online instructional slideshows and presentations. Today, however, there are more convenient ways to give online presentations that can be simply uploaded on DIY websites and are easily viewed online or can be downloaded. One is wherein you can create slideshows and instructional presentations better in appearance and format than PowerPoint. Another is Google Drive online slide presentations. All of these are free, making DIY instructional materials on DIY learning centers more accessible.