Likely Problem: Fill Valve which allows water to flow into the tank is not closing completely.
Investigation: There is a reason why the valve isn't regulating the water flow, and your mission is to find out why. The most obvious reason is a leak in the tank. It may appear as a slow drip from the bolts or flush valve, or possible cracks in the tank. If the latter is the case, you'll need a new toilet.
If you don't see any leaks, lift the tank cover and go inside. Toilets are fairly uncomplicated. They consist of the flush valve which allows the water to flow into the bowl when you flush, and the fill valve which refills the tank after the flush.
Check out the overflow tube to see if water is overflowing into the tube – if so, the fill valve is acting up. If the water level is below the top of the tube, then the flush valve is leaking.
Repair Fill Valve: If your toilet has a valve with a large float, try adjusting it. Carefully lift the rod and listen to hear if the water shuts off. If so, bend the float arm slightly. Some models have an adjustment screw that can be tightened. Flush the toilet to see if that solves the problem.
If that doesn't work, it may be that debris from hard water or old pipes has gathered and is preventing the valve from closing all the way. In this situation, the valve needs to be flushed out. Remove the fill valve cap (some twist off, others have screws that need to be removed). Cover the valve with your hand to prevent a spray of water and gently turn on the water supply under the toilet. Allow it to flush the valve for a few seconds to remove any obstructions. When you remove the valve cap, check the washer for wear or cracks because this too may be your problem.
If none of these solutions work, it's time to go to your local hardware store and purchase a new fill valve.
Repair Flush Valve: In most cases a running toilet is often caused by a worn flapper. Also check the chain that raises the flapper for too much or too little slack. Provide pressure to the flapper and if that does not stop the running noise, the problem may be due to excess water escaping through a worn overflow tube. If that is the case, you'll have to remove the tank from the bowl and replace the flush valve altogether.
To repair the flapper, turn off the water, flush the toilet to empty the tank and then check around the rim of the flush valve for any mineral deposits. If you find any, clean them off with a scouring pad. If this doesn't solve the problem, the flapper needs to be replaced.
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