If your toilet runs, not only is it annoying, but it’s also costing you a fortune on your water bill. There are only a few causes of this problem, and some of them are easy fixes. However, some causes require professional repairs.

In this blog, we’ll talk about four common reasons your toilet may be running. Remember, the toilet tank’s water is clean and perfectly sanitary for you to touch.

1. Flush Valve

The flush valve of your toilet sits near the tank bottom. It’s the part that allows water to enter the bowl. The flush valve can become sticky, warped, or nicked, and water will leak through to the bowl. Most flush valve leaks move slowly, which can make them difficult to identify.

When the water level gets too low, the fill valve acts as if the toilet was just flushed and refills the tank. “Ghost flushes” may occur, meaning the toilet sounds like it’s flushing while not being used. The only way to fix flush valve issues is to have the part replaced.

2. Flapper

The flapper is the large rubber device located near the tank bottom. It blocks water in the tank from running into the bowl. Over time, the flapper can warp, break, or gather buildup. In order to check the flapper, you need to empty the tank. First, flush the toilet. Before the tank fills back up, unhook the flapper and pull it up to get a closer look.

Check for any breaks or warping. If you find any, you’ll need a new flapper. If you don’t encounter any damage, it could just be buildup. Clean the flapper thoroughly before reconnecting it. If you do need a new flapper, make sure you choose one that connects to the chain in the center rather than the edge, as that will help prevent warping.

3. Chain

The chain connects the flush handle to the flapper. If the chain constantly pulls on the flapper, then the chain is too short and prevents the flapper from creating a watertight seal. A chain that is too long, on the other hand, may get stuck under the flapper, causing that part to stay open.

If the chain is too long, you should be able to unhook it and re-hook it a little farther down. If it’s too short, however, you need a new chain. Some chains have floats on them that should easily float on the water, with little tension on the chain. You should be able to move the float up or down on the chain if necessary.

4. Float Arm and Float Ball

The plastic balloon sitting on top of your toilet tank’s water is called the float ball and the rod connected to it is the float arm. Typically, the problems you’ll have with these components are that they don’t sit in the right position or they’re cracked.

If you lift the float ball while the water is still running, then the water stops, the float ball is too low. This can happen if it’s too close to the tank wall, so bend the arm away from the wall. On the other hand, if the water level in the tank gets to the overflow valve-the open pipe in the tank-and still hasn’t stopped rising, the float ball is too high. Again, bend the arm to fix this problem.

A crack in the float ball will make it fill up with water and sink to the bottom. When this is the case, or if you’re unable to bend the float arm, you need to replace it.

If none of these instances describes your issue, there may be something wrong with the ballcock assembly. Call your plumber for help with diagnosing the issue and replacing any necessary parts.