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Toilet Keeps Running Till I "Jiggle" The Handle

When I push on the flush handle, the toilet flushes, but I can hear water rushing loudly into the tank without filling it. If I "jiggle" the flush handle, it stops. What's going on?

If you remove the top from the toilet tank and look inside when the problem occurs, you will see one of two events:

  • Something is stopping the flapper from completely closing. Whatever that thing is, it must be adjusted, moved, etc. Sometimes, the chain itself can catch on the flapper if it is too long. So shorten it, already!
  • Then again, the flapper may have slipped off of the mounting "ears" at the base of the overfill pipe. So you can do some minor reconstructive surgery!

If you have a ball-type valve, or ballcock, the ball can actually hit the flapper in its low position when the tank is empty. The arm has probably been bent over the years to compensate for a worn out inlet valve .This is a particularly aggravating problem for some Universal Rundle (UR) toilets.

There are three possible solutions- either replace the old inlet valve with a Fluidmaster-type valve (which cannot by design interfere with the flapper), get a new ballcock, or find a creative way to "catch" the flush ball before it drops low enough to interfere with the flapper.

Ballcock over peanut butter jar

Ballcock graphic (supplied

One trick is to place a brick, stone, jar, or the like (like a peanut butter jar) under the float ball, so that the ball hits the object and doesn't drop all the way down during the flush. Once the ball drops 3 or 4 inches, the inlet valve is fully on and restricting it's downward travel past this point should not affect the rate your tank fills. Just be sure that the contraption you put in the tank doesn't itself hit the flapper!!  Filling a jar (as shown) with water will keep it in place!!

The second fix, which I have successfully done many times, is to mount a restricting device right on the flush ball rod itself, stopping the ball's downward travel by hitting the float ball arm.

See the little red mark on the float ball arm in the graphic above? If you use a small stainless steel hose clamp, and attach some non-rusting item to the arm, such as a brass compression nut, of the right size for your needs, so that it hits the body of the inlet valve as the ball arm drops during a flush, it will restrict the downward movement of the ball.

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