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

Fortunately, with a little troubleshooting, there are numerous toilet dilemmas you can solve by yourself. Here, the professionals at The Frazier Company 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 is constantly running, it is something you should correct because it's in all likelihood also costing you money on your water bill.

A frequent cause of a running toilet is something incorrect 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 spill over the top of the tank. At times, the problem is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube got detached. If that’s the situation, you should be able to reach into the tank and reattach them. It also might 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 appropriate height.

Another factor causing a toilet to run could be the flapper--which functions 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. Not having a good seal allows water to escape out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a running toilet is caused by something awry with your toilet float, which is a floating device that determines the water level in your tank. It achieves 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 Does My Toilet Make a Gurgling Sound?

A gurgling toilet is commonly caused by a partial clog in your toilet, drain lines, mainline or something blocking your sewage vent. If the cause of the issue is a clog in your toilet, you can try fixing this by using a plunger or drain snake to loosen the clog. If this rectify the issue, you can look at where your sewage vent exits your home to confirm it is not blocked by debris that would prevent air flow.

If these efforts don’t fix your gurgling toilet, you should phone a professional such an expert from The Frazier Company to evaluate the problem. As the go-to plumber in Omaha, The Frazier Company will check to see if the sound is due to a blockage in one of the drain lines directing toilet water out of your home or the mainline that carries waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Is My Toilet Hard to Flush?

If your toilet is hard to flush, it's likely the problem can be found in the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain in the toilet tank that is hooked to the back side of the handle. The other end of the chain is linked to the flapper, which acts 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, peek inside the tank and investigate.

Here’s how the process is supposed 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 permits the water to whoosh out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet won’t flush because the chain is caught on something within the tank, which keeps the chain from lifting 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 shorten it to the appropriate length.

Sometimes flappers can get stuck as they get older or become worn out. There also may be something amiss with the handle.

5. Why Is There a Leak in My Toilet?

A dripping toilet can be a costly situation, potentially leading to water damage in and around your bathroom. Many times, a leaky toilet is the result of a cracked supply line or a crack in the toilet tank. If your toilet tank is overflowing, it may be a malfunction in the toilet float.

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

6. Why Won't My Toilet Fill With Water?

A toilet not filling with water frequently indicates a problem with the fill valve, which fills the tank in the back of your toilet with water. If the tube is damaged or is plugged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it might 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 bringing water into the tank when the water has risen to the correct level. The fill valve does this when the water level lifts the float to a preset height. It could be that the float/float assembly needs adjustment so that the water is allowed to reach the appropriate level. Or, repairing a toilet not filling with water may require adjusting or changing the fill valve.