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How to Stop Your Toilet from Running – Sydney Plumbing Handbook

There’s all sorts of guides out there that’ll tell you how to fix your blocked toilet in your Sydney home, but what about if the opposite is your problem? Do you need to call your local plumbing contractors, or is this a job that you don’t need a plumber for?


A constantly running toilet is a big problem that you can’t ignore. Firstly, it wastes a huge amount of water, and therefore money, but what you’re most likely to notice is the noise! There’s no getting to sleep if it sounds like there’s a small waterfall in your bathroom. But it can be an easy thing to fix, and shouldn’t take you more than an hour or so.

The first thing to check is the flapper valve – this is the little rubber valve that allows the flush action of your toilet to occur, as well as stop. It’s the most common cause of a non-stop flushing toilet, as the valve does wear out over time. To check your flapper valve, open up the cistern and pull out the siphon. Sometimes, your flapper valve just needs a little cleaning rather than replacing, so run your finger around the valve and siphon looking for lumps and bumps that could be dirt or limescale. However, if you feel large bulges or distortions, you’ll need to install a new flapper valve.


Cross-section of your toilet’s cistern (from Howstuffworks)

The second most common cause for a constantly running toilet is  the float ball sitting too high. The float ball, from the name obviously, is the ball that floats in your cistern. If it’s too high, it can push water down the overflow pipe, creating your running problem. This too is an easy fix – just reposition the float ball by gently bending the arm till it no longer pushing water down the pipe.

Finally, your problem could be being caused by the chain. This chain connects the arm lever to the flapper valve. When the chain is too short, the flapper valve is always left a little open, letting water sneak through. It’s an easy fix – just replace the chain with a longer one. However, most Australian homes have dual flush rather than chains these days, so this probably isn’t the cause of your ever-running toilet if you’ve got a modern toilet system.

If all else fails, it’s time to call in your plumber.

Geoff James
Written By:

Geoff grew up in Berala near Lidcombe in Sydney and attended Birrong Boys High School where he finished his Year 10 school certificate. Geoff was encouraged by his uncle to consider plumbing as he had done a bit of plumbing work on weekends during his school years. DJ Childs Plumbing in Canterbury offered him a plumbing apprenticeship and he spent most of his time working on plumbing maintenance and new roofs on commercial sites. Geoff on Google+.