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

The good thing is, with a little troubleshooting, there are lots of toilet problems you can fix by yourself. Here, the specialists at Contra Costa Heating & AC will go over some of the most frequent 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 Is My Toilet Running?

If your toilet won't stop running, it is something you should fix because it's most likely also costing you money on your water bill.

A common reason for a running toilet is something incorrect with the overflow tube. Positioned 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. Occasionally, 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 may be your toilet is running due to the fact 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 functions as a plug in the bottom of your tank—is damaged 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 escape out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

At times, a running toilet is caused by something awry 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 lets the water level to rise too high, and the excess water will go in 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 blockage 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 look at where your sewage vent exits your home to make sure it is not blocked by debris that would block air flow.

If you've confirmed the problem isn't a clog in the toilet or a vent obstruction, you will probably want to call a professional such an expert from Contra Costa Heating & AC to evaluate the problem. As the experienced plumber in The Bay Area, Contra Costa Heating & AC will find out if the issue was caused by a blockage in one of the drain lines carrying toilet water out of your home or the mainline that carries waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Won't My Toilet Flush?

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

The easiest way to get to the bottom of why your toilet is challenging to flush is to take off the lid, peek inside the tank and investigate.

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

Sometimes a toilet will never flush because the chain is stuck on something in the tank, which keeps the chain from lifting 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.

Occasionally flappers can get stuck as they get older or become worn out. It's also possible there could be something amiss with the handle.

5. Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

A leaking toilet can be a costly problem, potentially causing water damage in and around your bathroom. Many times, a leaky toilet is due to a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it could be a malfunction in the toilet float.

Cracked gaskets around the connections on the underside of the tank also can permit water to leak out of the toilet, as can a weakened toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it connects to the floor. Often, these issues are best fixed by a professional plumber. 

6. Why Is There No Water in My Toilet?

A toilet that won't fill with water frequently traces back to 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 blocked by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it potentially could not be allowing water into the tank.

Another typical cause for your toilet not filling with water is something amiss with the float, which is a device that triggers the fill valve to stop letting water into the tank when the water has risen to the correct level. The fill valve performs this function when the water level lifts the float to a predetermined height. It may be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water can attain the correct level. Or, solving the problem of a toilet not filling with water could require adjusting or exchanging the fill valve.