11th Mar 2022
21st Apr 2022


fix a running toilet

It’s enough to drive you crazy – a running toilet that’s still flushing water down the drain 10 minutes after you’ve flushed. If you’re not a professional plumber, you might find it slightly intimidating to try to fix it yourself. And if you can’t sort it out yourself, you’ll definitely need a professional. Wasting that amount of water, day in and day out is simply not an option for waterwise (and budget-savvy) South Africans. 

Even if it seems intimidating, it’s still a good idea to familiarise yourself with your problem before calling the experts at Drain Surgeon. To help you, here’s a quick run-through of how a toilet works.


To get a clear understanding of how your toilet works, remove the cistern lid and flush your toilet a few times. You’ll notice a couple of things:

  1. After flushing, the toilet chain or flush valve lifts the stopper or flapper that covers the opening of the flush valve.
  2. The water enters the toilet bowl through the flush valve.
  3. The water moves the waste from the toilet bowl through the trap into the main drain.
  4. Once the toilet tank or cistern is empty, the flapper valve closes.
  5. Water fills the tank again, lifting the float to eventually shut off the water supply. 

You should now have a good idea of what’s not functioning properly. Let’s troubleshoot:


Fix a running toilet

1. Adjust the float

The most common reason for running toilets is overflowing water in the tank. Before calling the experts at Drain Surgeon, see if you can fix it by adjusting the level of water by adjusting the float height.

Do this by turning the screw, or by sliding the clip along the rod depending on your toilet model. Flush the toilet after each adjustment until the water shuts off.

2. Adjust the flapper chain or flush handle

Check whether the flapper chain is perhaps too short, tangled or too long. Too short will cause the fill valve to continue refilling the tank. Too long, and the flapper won’t stay open for long enough to deliver enough water for a proper flush. 

So check the length of the chain and adjust leaving only about 2cm slack when the flapper is closed.  

3. Check the flapper

Another reason for a toilet running could be a worn-out flapper that needs replacement. That’s the bit that connects the cistern to the bowl. If worn out, the flapper will fail to seal and stop the water from passing through the toilet tank into the bowl. Here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • Drain the water completely from the tank by shutting down the water supply and flushing the toilet to drain the water.
  • Remove the old flapper by detaching the chain. After that, take the flapper off the pins that are present on the side of the tube. Take it with you to the hardware store. No jokes – make sure you get the right part, there are many sizes and shapes.
  • Attach the chain to the pin sides of the new flapper. 
  • If the chain length is long, cut it to an appropriate size as discussed above. 

4. Check the fill tube

Lastly, look out for a thin, flexible tube inside your tank. While the tank refills, this tube moves water into the overflow tube to refill the bowl after a flush. If this tube is loose, or if the water stream misses the overflow tube, the bowl won’t fill properly. 

Reattach the fill tube and push it firmly onto the fill valve. Flush again to make sure the water stream goes down the overflow tube.


If all this seems like a bit of a mission, we get it. We don’t expect everyone to love plumbing as much as we do. So why use us? In a nutshell, because of our service attitude! Our absolute dodged focus on client service is no idle statement. In fact:

  • We are ultimate geared for the provision of first-class service, with efficiency, dependability, and customer satisfaction our utmost concerns.
  • We offer corporate maintenance contracts, thus enabling you to budget for the unexpected. A state-of-the-art tracking system has been installed in our vehicles, making it possible for us to pinpoint the movement of our vehicles at any given time and respond to queries regarding time spent on the a job with accuracy.
  • Each one of our highly skilled repair teams consists of one tradesman and one helper. They are in constant touch with the Control Room and their vehicles carry an extensive set of tools and materials. They also have access to our fully-stocked stores at any time of the day or night.
  • Staff training is ongoing and includes, in addition to technical refresher courses, training in all aspects of customer service.
  • At the Drain Surgeon, we pay more than mere lip service to affirmative action. We offer opportunities for advancement to deserving staff members and our training program helps them reach their full potential.


We love plumbing. And we love making sure your plumbing stays tip-top. Drain Surgeon is the largest plumbing group in the Southern hemisphere. We will give you quick and professional service no matter what your plumbing and drainage needs may be.

Call us today and our plumbing team will take care of it – any time of the day or night. We’ve been in the business for a long time, and we’ve seen it all, so you can enjoy peace of mind in the knowledge that one of our expert plumbers will be with you soon. 

At Drain Surgeon we only contract security-screened plumbers and electricians, so your home and family are in safe hands when we perform work on your premises. 

Download the app here and save R150 on your first job. And check out our testimonials here to hear what other happy customers have to say. We hope to add your testimonial here soon! 

Why call Drain Surgeon? We offer all general and specialised plumbing services, 24/7. 

  • We only contract security-screened plumbers and electricians, so you can feel at ease when we work on your premises. 
  • We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Your call will always be answered by our helpful staff – never an answering machine.
  • You do not pay extra for services outside office hours.
  • We will keep you informed throughout the process.
  • Our technicians will always be professional, highly competent and wear our recognisable uniform.
  • The Drain Surgeon vehicles carry all the equipment to complete most jobs immediately.
  • We leave all work areas clean and tidy.
  • We always aim to solve your problem quickly and professionally.

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