How to Fix a Toilet

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Fixing a toilet has never been anyone's favorite pass time. Some problems are so simple to fix, you can easily do them yourself. Don't flush money down the toilet by hiring a professional. Watch Lou Manfredini talk about the most common problems and how to fix them.

How to Fix a Toilet

 How It Works

Before you can understand how to fix your toilet you need to understand how it works. When you flush the toilet, the level pulls up the flapper filling the bowl with water from the back tank. Ultimately, running down through the flush valve into the septic tank.  As the water runs out, the float cup drops. The flapper will stay open until all the water drains from the tank. When the tank is empty, the flapper will drop back into place and allow the tank to refill. The water comes through the supply line into the fill valve and out an over flow tub. As the tank water rises, the float  rises. This trips a valve to shut off the incoming water supplies.

PROBLEM: Running Toilet

If you constantly hear that your toilet is running, that means your toilet is in a repetitive refill mode.
  • Make sure the end of the fill line is above the water line.
    • If it is under water, trim it down.
  • If it is not the fill line, shake the handle. If the sound stops when you jiggle the handle, then you know it is the flapper.
    • Hold down the flapper and loosen the chain. It may be holding the flapper open slightly.
    • If needed to replace, just pull out previous flapper and plug in a new one.
      • Be sure to get the right size. They run in three different sizes.

PROBLEM: Tank Won't Fill

If the tank fills too slowly, or not at all.
  • Make sure the water supply valve is open and replace the supply line that is damaged.
  • If that does not work, you may need a new fill valve.
    • This is simple to replace and has its own specific instruction depending on the product you need.

PROBLEM: Toilet Wont Flush

If your toilet will not flush or you're having trouble getting it to flush, this is an easy fix.
  • Check the arm connecting to the flapper chain for damage. Replace if it is broken and reconnect the chain.
  • Check the chain and tighten it if there is too much slack.
  • Measure the flush valve to be sure you have the right size flapper.
  • If the above methods are not solving the case, you may need to reset the tank water fill level.
    • Twist the float cup to adjust the water level.
    • Or bend the floater for older toilets

PROBLEM: Leaking Water

Water on the floor, foul smell, or warped flooring you have a leak.
  • If  water surrounds the toilet floor it could mean you need to replace the wax ring under the toilet.
  • If you believe that the tank may be leaking, drop leak detection tablets into the tank.
    • Do not flush.
    • Check back after 30 minutes.
    • If colored water appears between tank and the bowl, try tightening the nuts between the tank and the bowl.
  • If you believe the bowl is leaking, drop leak detection tablets into the bowl.
    • Do not flush.
    • Check back after 30 minutes.
    • If colored water appears down the bowl, there is not way to fix it. You will have to replace the toilet. 

Helpful Tip: When you need new  parts, you need to know the toilets age and brand. Look inside the tank for the tag printed on the inside.

  Published: 1/30/2020