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

The good thing is, with a little troubleshooting, there are numerous toilet issues you can correct yourself. Here, the professionals at Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, 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 Won't My Toilet Stop Running?

If your toilet keeps running all the time, 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 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 does not get too high and leak all over your floor. Occasionally, the issue 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 might be your toilet is running due to the fact the overflow tube is too short for the water level and needs to be replaced by one that is taller height.

Another reason for a toilet to run could be the flapper--which acts 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 flow 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 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 permits the water level to rise too high, and the unwanted water will spill into 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 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 release the clog. If this rectify the issue, you can look at where your sewage vent exits your home to ensure it is not blocked by debris that would prevent air flow.

If you've done these two trouble shooting tasks and the toilet is still gurgling or bubbling, you should phone a professional such an expert from Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC to evaluate the problem. As the trusted plumber in Ellsworth, Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC will find out if the issue was 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 Won't My Toilet Flush?

If it's difficult to flush your toilet, there’s a good chance the problem is with the chain, flapper or the handle. That’s because there’s a chain inside a 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 easiest way to get to the bottom of why your toilet is difficult to flush is to remove the lid, peek 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 drain 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 prevents the chain from pulling 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, free the caught chain or reach in and change it to the appropriate length.

At times flappers can get stuck as they get older or become worn out. There also could be something wrong with the handle.

5. Why Is There a Leak in My Toilet?

A leaking toilet can be a costly scenario, potentially causing water damage in and around your bathroom. Often, 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 is often because there is a failure 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 attaches to the floor. Often, these issues are best fixed by a certified plumber. 

6. Why Is My Toilet Not Filling with Water?

A toilet that won't fill with water frequently indicates a problem with the fill valve, which is the valve that lets water into your toilet tank. If the tube has failed or is plugged by rust, sediment or mineral buildup, it potentially could not be allowing water into the tank.

Another likely cause for your toilet not filling with water is something faulty with the float, which is a device that prompts the fill valve to stop bringing water into the tank when the water has gotten to the correct level. The fill valve performs this function 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 rises to the proper level. Or, solving the problem of a toilet not filling with water may require adjusting or exchanging the fill valve.