Does your toilet keep running? Strange gurgling noise arising from your toilet bowl? From water leakage to odd noises, toilets can do all sorts of strange things.

Fortunately, with a little troubleshooting, there are lots of toilet dilemmas you can correct on your own. Here, the specialists at Age Heating & Cooling will go over some of the most prevalent 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 Won't My Toilet Stop 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 typical culprit that causes a running toilet is something incorrect with the overflow tube. Located 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 won't get too high and leak all over your floor. Sometimes, the trouble is that the plastic tube connecting your fill valve to your overflow tube is detached. If that’s the case, you should be able to reach into the tank and reattach them. It also might be your toilet is running simply because the overflow tube is too short 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 malfunctioning and no longer forms the tight seal necessary to hold water in the tank. This enables water to seep through or around the damaged flapper and flow out the bottom of your tank into your toilet bowl.

Occasionally a running toilet is caused by something amiss 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 a predetermined height. If your float is set too high, this will allow the water level to rise too high, and the extra water will go in your overflow tube and down into your toilet bowl.

2. Why Is My Toilet Bubbling?

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 problem is a clog in your toilet, you can try fixing 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 confirm it is not blocked by debris that would prevent air flow.

If you've confirmed the problem isn't a clog in the toilet or a vent obstruction, you will probably want to phone a professional such an expert from Age Heating & Cooling to evaluate the problem. As the experienced plumber in Sandpoint, Age Heating & Cooling 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 takes waste water away from your home to the municipal water system.

4. Why Won't My Toilet Flush?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, there’s a good chance the problem lies the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain within 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 serves as a plug in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The quickest way to get to the bottom of why your toilet is challenging to flush is to take off the lid, look 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 drain out of your tank and into your toilet bowl.

Sometimes a toilet won’t flush because the chain is snagged on something within the tank, which prevents 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.

At times flappers can get stuck as they age or become worn out. It's also possible there may be something amiss with the handle.

5. Why Is My Toilet Leaking?

A dripping toilet can be a costly problem, potentially causing water damage in and around your bathroom. Usually, 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. Often, these issues are best fixed by a certified plumber. 

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

A toilet that won't fill with water in many cases indicates a problem with the fill valve, which fills the tank in the back of your toilet with water. If the tube has failed or is blocked by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it might 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 prompts the fill valve to stop letting water into the tank when the water has reached 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, fixing a toilet not filling with water might require adjusting or changing the fill valve.