Is your toilet running? Strange gurgling noise arising from your toilet bowl? From water leaks to unusual 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 correct on your own. Here, the professionals at Central Heating & Plumbing will go over some of the most frequent toilet problems, what they mean and whether it’s a plumbing issue you can fix yourself—or, if it is better to call in an expert.

1. Why Is My Toilet Running?

If your toilet keeps running all the time, it is a situation you should repair because it's most likely also costing you money on your water bill.

A common cause of a running toilet is something amiss with the overflow tube. Located in the tank in the back of your toilet, an overflow tube directs excess water from the tank into your toilet bowl so the water level in your tank won't get too high and overflow 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 case, you can reach into the tank and reattach them. It also could be your toilet is running due to the fact the overflow tube is is not tall enough to maintain the correct water level and needs to be replaced by one that is the correct height.

Another reason for a toilet to run could be the flapper--which functions as a plug in the bottom of your tank—has malfunctioned 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 wrong with your toilet float, which is a floating device that maintains 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 unwanted 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 often caused by a partial blockage in your toilet, drain lines, mainline or an obstruction in your sewage vent. If the cause of the issue is a clog in your toilet, you can attempt to correct this by using a plunger or drain snake to loosen the clog. If this doesn’t work, you can check where your sewage vent exits your home to ensure 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, it would be a good idea to call a professional such an expert from Central Heating & Plumbing to evaluate the problem. As the trusted plumber in New Castle, Central Heating & Plumbing 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 removes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is My Toilet Hard to Flush?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, it's likely the problem lies the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain in the toilet tank that is attached to the back side of the handle. The other end of the chain is attached to the flapper, which serves as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The best way to get to the bottom of why your toilet is difficult to flush is to lift up the lid, peer inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process ought to 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 enables the water to whoosh 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 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, free the caught chain or reach in and change it to the appropriate length.

Sometimes flappers can get stuck when they get old or become worn out. Or, there may be something awry with the handle.

5. Why Is There a Leak in My Toilet?

A leaky toilet can be a costly situation, potentially leading to 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 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 damaged toilet flange or wax ring at the base of the toilet where it connects to the floor. Often, these issues are best fixed by an expert plumber. 

6. Why Is My Toilet Not Filling with Water?

A toilet that won't fill with water in many cases suggests a problem with the fill valve, which is what fills your toilet tank with water. If the tube is damaged or is blocked by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it might not be allowing water into the tank.

Another common 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 allowing water into the tank when the water has gotten to the correct level. The fill valve gives the signal to stop 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 rises to the appropriate level. Or, correcting a toilet not filling with water might require adjusting or exchanging the fill valve.