Is your toilet running? Strange gurgling noise coming from your toilet bowl? From water leakages to unusual noises, toilets can do all sorts of frustrating things.

Thankfully, with a little troubleshooting, there are numerous toilet dilemmas you can fix yourself. Here, the experts at Contra Costa Heating & AC will go over some of the most prevalent toilet problems, what they mean and whether it’s something you can fix yourself—or, if it is better to call in an expert.

1. Why Won't My Toilet Stop Running?

If your toilet is constantly running, it is an issue you should correct because it's in all likelihood also costing you money on your water bill.

A common culprit that causes a running toilet is something wrong with the overflow tube. Positioned in the tank in the back of your toilet, an overflow tube removes extra water from the tank into your toilet bowl so the water level in your tank doesn't get too high and spill over the top of the tank. Sometimes, the trouble is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube got detached. If that’s the case, 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 isn't tall enough for the water level and needs to be replaced by one that is taller height.

Another thing that could cause 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 required to hold water in the tank. This causes water to leak out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

At times, a running toilet is caused by something amiss with your toilet float, which is a floating device that determines 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 lets the water level to rise too high, and the excess water will spill into your overflow tube and down into your toilet bowl.

2. Why Does My Toilet Make a Gurgling Sound?

A gurgling toilet is usually 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 fixing this by using a plunger or drain snake to remove the clog. If this doesn’t work, you can examine where your sewage vent exits your home to confirm it is not blocked by debris that would restrict air flow.

If these efforts don’t fix your gurgling toilet, you should phone a professional such an expert from Contra Costa Heating & AC to evaluate the problem. As the go-to plumber in The Bay Area, Contra Costa Heating & AC will check to see if the sound is due to a blockage in one of the drain lines carrying toilet water out of your home or the mainline that removes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is My Toilet Hard to Flush?

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

The quickest way to figure out why your toilet is difficult to flush is to take off the lid, look inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process should work anytime 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 drain out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet doesn't flush because the chain is caught on something inside the tank, which keeps the chain from pulling up the flapper to let out the water. Or, the chain is too long or somehow comes unhooked 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 might be something awry with the handle.

5. Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

A leaking toilet can be a costly problem, potentially leading to water damage in and around your bathroom. Many times, a leaky toilet is caused by a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it is often because there is a malfunction 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 weakened toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it attaches to the floor. Most of these issues are best fixed by a certified plumber. 

6. Why Is My Toilet Not Filling with Water?

A toilet not filling with water often indicates a problem with the fill valve, which fills the tank in the back of your toilet with water. If the tube is broken or is clogged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it may not be allowing water into the tank.

Another likely cause for your toilet not filling with water is something amiss with the float, which is a device that signals the fill valve to stop letting water into the tank when the water has reached the correct level. The fill valve performs this function when the water level lifts the float to a predetermined height. It could be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water is allowed to reach the appropriate level. Or, fixing a toilet not filling with water may require adjusting or replacing the fill valve.