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Water Shooting Out of Toilet: Why It Happens and Best Fixes

You never want to see water shooting out of the toilet, but fixing the problem fast can save you from major repairs later. I’ll explain why water is shooting out of your toilet and help you find out how to fix it.

Water Shooting Out of Toilet

Water Shooting Out of Toilet

Turn off the water immediately if you see water shooting out of your toilet. Then check out the toilet tank, which is the root of the problem. Look at these key areas:

Finding the source allows you to repair or replace the damaged parts.

Reasons Why Water Is Shooting Out of the Toilet

There’s no one common reason to have water shooting out of the toilet. However, knowing the five main issues can help you find the cause of your specific problem.

Full Water Tank

The toilet tank should have a certain amount of water to function correctly. Unfortunately, flushing the toilet can cause water to shoot out if it gets too full.

There’s too much water in the tank to flow correctly, so the tank shoots water into the toilet bowl. It hits the edges and rim of the bowl and splashes.

Damaged Flapper

The flapper is what keeps the water tank closed off normally. If your toilet has a damaged flapper, it can make the toilet run constantly.

When you flush, the mechanism lifts the flapper to let the water fill the bowl. If you have a damaged or broken flapper, it can’t seal off to keep water in the tank. 

You might hear the toilet running constantly and understand that you must look at the flapper. In some cases, it didn’t seal correctly after a flush. Depending on the velocity of the water, you might not realize it’s damaged until the water shoots out of the toilet.

Cracked Fill Valve

The fill valve sends water to the tank, so it can cause a leak when it’s cracked. The water never makes it to the tank and can shoot out of the toilet.

Broken Seals

The seal between the water tank and toilet bowl prevents significant leaks. If it’s broken, there’s enough room for water to spray from the holes when you flush.

Damaged Water Tank

Inspect your water tank regularly. You might think a hairline crack can wait for repairs, but considering the water pressure, that crack can split the tank apart (for more information on cracks on your tank, read here). Then you have a stressful replacement on your hands while also trying to fix the resulting water damage.

How To Stop Water Shooting Out of Your Toilet

When you see water shooting out of the toilet, you first need to turn off the water. The valve is right behind the toilet, so you can access it easily without allowing the bathroom to flood.

Turn the valve handle clockwise to shut off the toilet water. Then you’re ready to fix the problem according to the solutions below.

Valve Behind the Toilet

Adjust the Float

The water in the toilet tank should always be an inch or two below the float. If it’s overflowing, check to see if the float works correctly. Toilets either have a ball and arm float or a cylinder float. 

You can adjust a ball and arm float with a screwdriver. Change the float adjustment screw height and flush the toilet to ensure the tank fills to the new float position.

For a cylinder float, you can adjust the release clip. Squeeze it as you move it up or down the rod to the water level you prefer. Then flush the toilet to check the water level.

Fix or Replace the Flapper

Look inside the toilet tank to check the flapper. If it’s not damaged, you can drain the tank and shorten or lengthen the flapper chain so it seals securely. Cleaning the rubber can also help it stay in place.

If you need to replace the flapper, turn off the water and let it drain. Then, disconnect the flapper from the toilet flush handle. You should see a metal clip on the flush string that enables you to remove the flapper by the hinge (if the flapper won’t come off, see our guide here).

Slide on the new flapper and connect the flush string to your toilet handle. Test the flush handle while watching the flapper to ensure it forms a secure seal around the tank opening. Then turn the water back on and flush. Listen for a trickle of water, letting you know the flapper doesn’t close correctly.

Install a New Fill Valve

The fill valve can come loose from the overflow tube, so you can first check and see if this is the case. If you need to replace the valve, unscrew the supply line from the toilet tank after turning off the water. A locknut secures the fill valve to the tank, which you can remove with pliers.

Take the replacement fill valve and put it on the toilet’s valve shank. Then put the entire fill valve into the open tank. Push down gently but firmly while you tighten the locknut to seal it completely.

Finally, reconnect the supply line. Ensure the refill tube securely attaches to the overflow pipe. Set the fill valve’s water level and flush the toilet while you watch to ensure the water comes up to the level you chose.

Replace the Seal

Before replacing your toilet seals, I suggest tightening the bolts that secure the bowl to the floor. Since you’re already working on the toilet, this easy step ensures there’s less that could go wrong in the future.

Tighten the bolts carefully so you don’t crack the porcelain. There’s a lot of debate about caulking around the toilet base, but generally, it’s good practice.

After you tighten the bolts, you can replace the seal. You’ll need to remove the old seal and put in a new one. Turn the toilet tank upside down to get better access, but make sure the water is completely drained before doing so.

Other seals are at the mounting bolts and the inlet valve. They can cause leaks, so if you find your toilet is shooting water, it might be worth replacing all the seals at once.

Toilet Bolts

Get a New Water Tank

If you see any cracks in your water tank, you can’t repair them. There’s no way to repair the porcelain to guarantee there’s no leak, and you can weaken the structural integrity by trying. It’s best to get a new water tank instead.

Hardware stores sell tanks and toilets separately, so you can buy a new tank for your existing toilet. Measure your current tank and get your toilet model number to ensure the replacement fits. Some stores also sell universal toilet tanks that fit any size bowl.

For the replacement, drain the tank by flushing the toilet after you’ve shut off the water. There’s no new water flowing into the toilet from your water supply, so it only takes a few flushes to empty. Dry up any remaining water with a towel or sponge so it won’t drip when you remove the tank.

Unscrew the supply hose and the bolts inside the tank. Grab the tank at the bottom and lift it straight off the toilet bowl. The new water tank includes the correct flushing mechanisms, so you can dispose of those with the old tank.

Check into your city or county guidelines to see how you can properly dispose of a toilet tank.

Install the new water tank according to the instructions. Double-check all seals and gaskets to ensure there’s no leakage. Screw in the supply hose, clip the refill hose into the flush valve, and turn on the water to fill the tank once it’s secure.

Tips and Solution

Always read up on the job before you get started. Check the part’s instructions or watch YouTube videos. Have your tools ready to go. The most common ones you’ll need include:

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench

Keep extra old towels on hand. Trust me—these parts will drip water all over the place when you’re removing them. Having old towels to set them on makes cleanup much easier when you’re done.

You can further protect yourself from unknown splashes by wearing rubber gloves, a facemask, and protective eyewear. The water in the toilet tank is typically clean but better safe than sorry.

In some cases, you might be better off calling a professional to come and replace your toilet parts. They can last up to 40 years if you take good care of them, but once you notice a leak or damaged part, you might want to further inspect the toilet. Having a plumber install a new toilet also gives you a chance to check for water damage beneath the base.

The Bottom Line

Water shooting out of your toilet isn’t a sight you want to see, but there’s no reason to panic. If you don’t have any DIY skills, call a professional plumber to find the root of the issue. Otherwise, your issue is likely one due to one of the reasons outlined above.

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