Is your toilet running? Creepy gurgling noise emitting from your toilet bowl? From water leaks to odd noises, toilets can do all sorts of frustrating things.

Thankfully, with a little troubleshooting, there are many toilet dilemmas you can fix on your own. Here, the specialists at TopTec will go over some of the most common toilet problems, what they mean and whether it’s a situation you can fix yourself—or, if it is better to call in an expert.

1. Why Does My Toilet Always Run?

If your toilet is constantly running, it is something you should fix because it's in all probability also costing you money on your water bill.

A frequent reason for a running toilet is something incorrect with the overflow tube. Found in the tank in the back of your toilet, an overflow tube allows extra water to drain from the tank into your toilet bowl so the water level in your tank does not get too high and spill over the top of the tank. At times, the problem is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube has become detached. If that’s the scenario, you most likely can just reach into the tank and reattach them. It also might be your toilet is running simply because the overflow tube is too short for the water level and needs to be replaced by one that is the appropriate height.

Another reason for a toilet to run could be the flapper--which acts as a plug in the bottom of your tank—is malfunctioning and no longer forms the tight seal needed to hold water in the tank. This enables water to seep through or around the damaged flapper and leak out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

Occasionally a running toilet is caused by something wrong with your toilet float, which is a floating device that controls the water level in your tank. It does this by shutting off your fill valve when the water level raises the float to the appropriate height. If your float is set too high, this will allow the water level to rise too high, and the extra water will flow into your overflow tube and down into your toilet bowl.

2. Why Is My Toilet Bubbling?

A gurgling toilet is often caused by a partial clog in your toilet, drain lines, mainline or an obstruction in your sewage vent. If the problem is a clog in your toilet, you can try to fix this by using a plunger or drain snake to loosen the clog. If this rectify the issue, you can examine where your sewage vent exits your home to make sure it is not blocked by debris that would block air flow.

If these efforts don’t fix your gurgling toilet, you should phone a professional such an expert from TopTec to evaluate the problem. As the trusted plumber in Libertyville, TopTec will investigate whether the noise is caused by a blockage in one of the drain lines transporting toilet water out of your home or the mainline that takes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is It Hard to Flush My Toilet?

If you can’t flush your toilet, it's likely the problem can be found in the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain within a toilet tank that is hooked to the back side of the handle. The other end of the chain is linked to the flapper, which serves as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The quickest way to find out why your toilet is hard to flush is to lift up the lid, peer inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process is supposed to work whenever you flush a toilet: you push down the handle, which pulls up the chain, then the chain pulls the flapper up and that allows the water to whoosh out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet doesn't flush because the chain is snagged on something inside the tank, which keeps the chain from yanking up the flapper to let out the water. Or, the chain is too long or gets disconnected from either the handle or the flapper. If this happens, release the caught chain or reach in and change it to the appropriate length.

Sometimes flappers can get stuck as they age or become worn out. Or, there could be something awry with the handle.

5. Why Is There a Leak in My Toilet?

A dripping toilet can be a costly situation, potentially causing water damage in and around your bathroom. Often, a leaky toilet is caused by a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it may be a failure in the toilet float.

Cracked gaskets around the connections on the underside of the tank also can let water to leak out of the toilet, as can a damaged toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it attaches to the floor. The majority of these issues are best fixed by a certified plumber. 

6. Why Is There No Water in My Toilet?

A toilet not filling with water frequently indicates a problem with the fill valve, which is what fills your toilet tank with water. If the tube is damaged or is clogged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it potentially could not be allowing water into the tank.

Another common cause for your toilet not filling with water is something wrong with the float, which is a device that prompts the fill valve to stop letting water into the tank when the water has reached the correct level. The fill valve does this when the water level lifts the float to a set height. It could be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water can attain the proper level. Or, fixing a toilet not filling with water might require adjusting or changing the fill valve.