What to do about a Dripping Noise From the Toilet?

Imagine how annoying it can be, when you hear the dripping noise from the bathroom in the middle of a quiet night. And this can be more worrisome if the annoying noise is from the toilet. What can you do in that kind of situation?

Well, if you hear the dripping noise from the toilet, the first thing is to trace the source from where the water is dripping. It is possible that the shut-off valve is leaking, the flapper is worn out, or the fill tube is ruptured. However, there is a slight chance of leakage through the toilet bowl.   

Further, in the article, we will discuss in detail the possible causes behind the dripping noises of the toilet. Then, lastly, what can be done to get rid of this annoying noise. 

What are the causes of Dripping Noise from the toilet?

If you suspect that dripping noise from the toilet, first check the connections of the shut-off valve. If they are fine, look for any leaks in the bowl. Lastly, remove the lid and see the flapper and fill tube inside the tank.

Leakage in Shut-Off Valve

toilet shut-off valve

If you have carefully observed your toilet, then you might have noticed a main water supply connection to the toilet. This is the shut-off valve; the valve is located behind the toilet’s rear wall and connected to the base toilet’s cistern.

Most of the time, you don’t turn off these valves for years.  As a result of this inactivity, its neoprene washers become brittle and break. When that happens, the valve loses its seal. And you see or hear water dripping through the valve. Also, a low-quality plastic valve turns bad after a few years and starts dripping.

Leakage through bowl cracks (Less Common)

In very rare cases, the dropping noise could be due to leakage in the bowl. If there is a hairline crack or any other kind of damage to the bowl, water can drip through it and make a noise. These cracks are difficult to spot and fix. You will need a professional’s help in this case.

Problem with Tank Components (Flapper and Fill Tube)

If the shut-off valve and bowl are fine, look for any problem with the tank’s components. In most cases, a dripping noise from the toilet is due to some problem with the flapper or fill tube. Let’s see how:


The flapper is a rubber seal that covers the hole at the bottom of the tank. When you flush the toilet, this rubber seal lifts up and allows water to flow from tank to bowl. After flushing, the flapper falls back into position and blocks the hole again.

If the flapper is damaged or not sealing properly, water can leak through it and make noise. Also, if the chain that lifts the flapper is too short or too long, it can cause water leakage.

Fill Tube

The fill tube is a small pipe that connects the shut-off valve to the overflow pipe. When the tank is filling after a flush, water flows through this tube and fills the tank.

If the fill tube is damaged or not properly connected, water can leak through it and make noise.

Clogged Drain

In some cases, if the drain line is clogged, the water drains slowly down it producing a dripping sound.

gurgling water sound in toilet bowl due to clogged drain
Image from F and M Plumbing

In this case, if you pay attention to the bowl’s water, it will be making some gurgling sounds, and the water level might be getting down very slowly since there is an obstruction inside the trap or drain.

What to Do About a Dripping Noise From the Toilet?

Now that you have identified the source what to do next? 

If the shut-off valve is leaking, replace its washer or the entire valve. If the problem is with the flapper or fill tube, clean or replace them. In case of a bowl crack, call a professional plumber.

Replace the Shut-off valve

In order to replace a shut-off valve, you will need a wrench, a washer, and a new valve.

replacement of new shut-off valve
Image from Blu Ribbon Plumbing
  1. First, locate your home/bathroom’s main supply valve and turn it off.
  2. Turn on a sink or a bathtub drain anywhere in the home to reduce the water pressure. Once all the water in the piping system is drained.
  3. Turn the packing nut counterclockwise to unscrew it, and then remove the valve stem.
  4. Check the washer, if it is broken, else replace the whole valve.
  5. Place a new valve stem back in its place, and then tighten the nut to secure it.

Turn the water on, and check the cut-off valve for leaks.

Unclog The toilet

As I mentioned earlier, a clogged toilet can also result in dripping noises from the toilet. Unclogging the toilet is another option to get rid of that noise.

If your toilet is clogged, you will see water filling up in the bowl and not going down. In this case, use a plunger to unclog the drain line.

person using toilet plunger to remove an object from the toilet trap

If the plunger doesn’t work or you don’t have one, flush the toilet and then pour hot water into it. The hot water will melt the clog and water will start flowing down. You can also use a toilet auger to remove the clog.

Install a new flapper

If the fault is with the flapper, you have to install a new flapper in its place. Installing a flapper is an easy task, all you have to do is stick to the instructions mentioned.

  1. Turn the shut-off valve clockwise to cut the water supply.
  2. Take off the top of the tank and put it somewhere secure.
  3. Now, use the flush handle, so that the water covering the flapper drains. The water level should be lower than the flapper to facilitate removing it simpler without wetting your hand.
  4. Take a photo of the tank’s interior to observe how the chain links to the flush lever and flapper. This will save time while adjusting the flapper’s chain.
  5. Unhook the flush chain from the flapper and remove its clips.
  6. Buy a new flapper based on the size of the flapper.
  7. Use the photo you took to reconnect the flapper.
  8. Place the cistern’s lid back and turn the shut-off valve counter-clockwise to restore supply.

Replace the Fill tube

So, if the valve, flapper, or drain isn’t at fault, the last thing to check is the fill tube. If it’s damaged to ruptured, you will have to replace it.  You can follow the mentioned and replace it easily.

fill tube replacement
Image from NY Handyman Services
  1. Turn off the cut-off (shut-off) valve.
  2. Flush the toilet and hold down the handle to remove all the water from the tank.
  3. Remove the cistern’s lid and place it where it cannot break.
  4. Disconnect the water supply line from the fill valve.
  5. From underneath the tank, loosen the nut that is holding the fill tube in its place.
  6. Remove the fill valve by unscrewing it from the tank.
  7. Install the new fill valve and tighten its nut back.
  8. Reconnect the water supply line to the new fill valve and turn on

Final Words

A dripping noise from the toilet can be annoying, and it can also be an indication of a problem. The most common reason for this noise is a faulty shut-off valve, flapper, or fill tube. You can try to fix it yourself by sticking to the steps mentioned. However, if you are not confident about doing it yourself, it is best to call a professional plumber.

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