Toilet runs non-stop or runs randomly then stops

If your toilet runs non-stop or if your toilet runs for a second and then stops a few easy adjustments should do the trick to fix this annoying problem. Most likely the tank water level is too high when a toilet runs non-stop, but you may also have a loose flush handle. We have detailed instructions below on fixing both problems.
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Clogged toilet: Easy fixes when your bowl overflows

Clogged toilets are easy to fix. If your toilet bowl is overflowing you can repair your clogged toilet by following these easy steps. If you toilet appears to be clogged and is draining slowly you might also want to read our repair tips for toilet bowls that drain slowly.

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Toilet Clogged: Bowl Drains Slowly

The bowl or drain is clogged or blocked


First, prepare the floor around the toilet should water overflow or splash out. If the bowl is overflowing or filled to the rim you will need to bail it out. Use rubber gloves, a bucket and a small container to empty about half of the water from the bowl.

See our plunger review to find the best toilet plunger for your home.

If the bowl is empty fill it to half full with water.

Place a plunger flush over the drain opening in the bottom of the toilet. Quickly pump the plunger about a dozen times, then remove it with a quick motion. If the blockage is dislodged the water should rush away. If not, repeat the process as necessary.


If a plunger does not clear the toilet an auger will likely do the trick. Be careful not to scratch the porcelain in the bowl when inserting the coil into the drain. Once the auger is fed into the drain turn it clockwise until you feel resistance. Then turn it counterclockwise. Repeat this process to clear the clog, then remove the auger from the drain. If the drain is not fully cleared try using the plunger again and then repeat with the auger if necessary.

Remove the toilet

If you are still not able to clear the toilet you may need to remove the toilet to remove the blockage from below.

Float ball is too low or adjust water-intake assembly

Reposition the Float Ball
Reposition float ball
Reposition the float ball if it is too low and your toilet is not flushing completely.

If the float ball is too low the toilet may not flush completely and you may need to adjust the float ball back up slightly to get more water in the tank. You can simply bend the float arm up slightly to keep the water about 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Flush the toilet to a make sure it enough water is getting into the bowl.

If it also possible that the float ball is damaged or rubbing against the side of the tank. If it is rubbing the tank, gently bend it toward the center of the tank. If the float ball is damaged, it will not rise enough to close the ball cock. The float ball can be screwed off of the float arm counter clockwise. You may need to use pliers to grasp the float arm. When placing the new float ball on the arm, apply petroleum jelly or plumbers tape to the threads.

Adjust the Water-Intake Assembly
Water intake assembly.
If your toilet has a water intake assembly, adjusting it may fix your problem.

Your toilet may have a water-intake assembly instead of a float ball.
To adjust the water level in the bowl so it does not flow into the overflow pipe, pinch the clip attached to the thin metal rod and slide it and the cup down to lower the water level.

If the water level in the tank is too low sliding the water-intake assembly clip and cup up will raise the water level.

Try moving the clip about an inch at a time and flushing the toilet to see the results.

Flush holes are blocked

Clean and clear flush holes

If the flush holes below the bowl rim are blocked the toiled will not drain properly. You can try using toilet bowl cleaner and a brush to clear the holes. If that does not work use a coat hanger to clear the holes and clean the bowl again.

Clean stains from bottom of bowl

Often dark spots or stains form in the bottom of a ceramic toilet bowl, particularly where the bowl curves. This is caused by material getting trapped in imperfections in the bowl’s finish. A standard brush my have trouble reaching into these pits to remove the deposits. To get at them, turn of water to your tank and flush the toilet until it is empty. You can then reach in with a rag or sponge and clean out the deposits.