toilet overflow can waste gallons of water in a day and cost you extra money in the form of a water bill. It can also greatly increase the chances of mold in the bathroom. If you want to save money, you must fix a running toilet quickly.

Anyone can fix most overflow toilet problems without any specialized knowledge or special tools. The main thing is to diagnose the cause of the overflow and then fix it. Here are a few simple steps in helping you diagnose and fix the most common toilet overflow problems:

Turn off Water Supply and Drain

First things first, shut down the main water supply to your toilet. Next flush your toilet to drain out all the extra water from the tank. This step will help to better inspect the flapper inside the tank. The flapper is a round rubber seal that stops water overflow from the tank and in the toilet bowl. The flapper is the most common reason for toilet overflow. Be sure to check for any obstructions in the toilet before flushing to prevent any possibility of having a sewage backup.

Remove the Tank Lid and Look inside


Carefully remove the lid of the toilet tank and put it on a towel to avoid scratches or cracks.  Check and see if the chain attached to the flapper is tangled in any way or needs adjustment. If so, adjust the length of chain, if necessary. Too much length or too short chain can cause problems.

If your chain is too short, it will have too much tension. You can change the position of hook to adjust its size. If the chain is too long, you can cut it with a cutter and reattach the hook to its top link.

Inspect Flapper for Problems

It is important to fix toilet overflow instantly; otherwise, you will need a water damage company to extract any water damage it may have caused. If the chain does not resolve the problem, remove the flapper and inspect it for signs of deterioration, holes, discoloration, mineral build up, or major wear. If still salvageable, clean the flapper, re-insert, and test integrity. If the flapper is damaged beyond a simple cleaning, you must replace it. It is always a good idea to replace the entire guts of the toilet when swapping out the flapper. Over time these other parts will need replacing as well. Better to get them all taken care of at once than over several instances.

To clean a dirty flapper, soak it in a bowl of vinegar for almost 30 minutes and then scrub the flapper with a toothbrush to remove dirt and build up. After cleaning the flapper, you can put it back and fasten the hook on both sides of the pins on the overflow tube. Turn on the water to let the tank fill. Listen to the sound of running water to see if the problem is fixed.

Adjust the Water Level

If the flapper is not the cause of your problem, you can check the toilet float. If the water level is excessively high, it will consistently drain in the overflow tube. If the water keeps overflowing, it is mostly the cause of the float not stopping the water flow. This piece will need to be replaced if this is the case.

The Toilet tank gets water through a fill valve. It has a float on the water along with the water level. The fill valve has a screw attachment to attach the float arm to the valve. You can adjust the height of the float with this screw.

You can lower the float and fix the screw to its place. Refill the tank and check the water level. Disconnect the water supply and replace the old fill valve with a new one.

If the problem still persists, it may be in your best interest to call a professional to fix the problem before water damage occurs. If you’re at the point of water damage, it’s highly advisable to call a water damage restoration expert in your area to help resolve your matter quickly and effectively.