Toilets are, quite possibly, the most essential appliance in your entire home. Is never more painfully obvious than when the good ol’ toilet cistern is on the fritz.

A malfunctioning toilet can also be the source of costly utility bills, however. It can even cause water damage in the area around it. 

Luckily, a dripping or running push button flush toilet is simple and usually does not require a plumber. Here are some of the common ways your push button toilet can malfunction and what you can do to fix it.

Two Common Push Button Flush Toilet Problems
Common Problem Number One: Tank Fills Too Quickly

A malfunctioning push button toilet is commonly due to the quick water filling in the tank. To see if it is the issue, simply remove the lid from the tank, press down the flush button, and then observe the water’s level as it drains and refills during the flush.

If the water is flowing back into the tank too quickly, then the float that triggers the shut-off valve might never reach its designated shut-off point.

If this is the case, find the small elbow pipe that runs into the tank (on the bottom side) from the wall. The pipe should have a small valve that you can adjust with a flathead screwdriver. If the line is pointing straight along the course of the pipe, that indicates it’s in the fully open position. Turn the cross using a flathead screwdriver into a more diagonal line in order to restrict the flow of water and slow down the rate at which your tank fills.

And that’s it! It should fix your running toilet issue assuming that was the problem. If it did not work, then we continue further down the rabbit hole to problem numero dos.

Common Problem Number Two: Tank Drains Constantly

A toilet tank that drains constantly can be due to numerous factors.

With the lid of your toilet tank removed, you should see the mechanical components that operate your toilet. If this is your first time, it may seem like looking under the hood of a car for the first time. But fret not. Your toilet is a much more straightforward affair than a station wagon.

You should see the buttons themselves that activate the flush of your toilet right before you with the lid removed. It is the only piece we will be dealing with, so ignore the rest. 

The most straightforward problem to fix is something jamming the stopper from closing completely. You can reach one hand into the water to find the empty gap between two sections of plastic. Don’t worry, that water in the tank is fresh water just as clean as water from the tap so get your hands in there. There may be something preventing the stopper from sealing completely at the bottom, so push the flush with the other hand and reach under the piece that rises up, so you can feel around in there for anything that may be impeding it from seating correctly.

If you can’t manage to feel exactly what I’m referring to or there doesn’t seem to be anything jamming it, then now is the time to get a bit more hands and eyes on. The top section of the flushing mechanism can be removed entirely from its housing, and that’s what you’re going to do. The mechanism may require some coaxing and finagling to remove it from the rest of the components but give it a twist and pull on it firmly and it should come off without too much of a struggle. 

Once you have removed the piece, the water in the tank will immediately begin draining out into the toilet so don’t be alarmed. Your toilet will empty itself and prevent overflowing as long as your drains aren’t clogged.

Now that we have this flushing component in hand, we can take a much closer look at it. Press the buttons a few times so you can get a better idea of how it works. Check for any debris or lime build-up that may be blocking the seal we talked about earlier. If that seems fine, then check out the rubber gasket at the bottom of the mechanism. Sometimes this gasket has become worn out or warped and is no longer providing a seal to the bottom of the tank. You can pop down to your local hardware store and buy a replacement to switch the old out for a new with ease.

With the tank drained, you can look inside and see if there is any corrosion or chipping around the hole that leads to the toilet. If there is any damage there that is preventing a seal, you may need to seek professional aid or find yourself a new toilet.

If none of these fixes solved your toilet troubles, it’s probably time to call in the professionals such as those from Level Plumbing. If you did get your toilet fixed with one of these easy solutions then kudos to you, job well done!