How to perform toilet repairs


Many toilet issues occur inside the tank which contain the moving parts. Certain repairs are simple enough to do by the home owner.  Other problems may require an experienced professional to come perform the toilet repair.

How does a toilet work?

Side shot of toilet for toilet repair knowledge
Toilet Side Shot

In order to diagnose issues and have a fighting chance to perform toilet repair, you need to have a basic knowledge of how the toilet operates.

1. Pressing the level on the outside of the tank causes the arm with the chain connected (see below) to lift the flapper, which happens to be red in the photo below.


Toilet Flapper
Toilet Flapper, lever and chain

2. The flapper remains lifted to allow water to flow from the tank into the bowl until there is no more water in the tank, then the flapper closes, stopping the water.

3. At the same time water is draining, water flows into the tank from an intake valve that comes through the filler tube.

4. When the flap closes and water begins rising in the tank, the float (a ball looking item), begins to rise and once the float rises to a certain point, the water flow is cut off.

Most common toilet problems:

First off, before any work is performed on a toilet, you should turn the water off at the valve located below the tank.

The tank fills but water continues to run:  Remove the cover and check the float arm.  The ball and float arm could be connected by a collar which allows your to raise and lower the float.  The ball should be about submerged about halfway under water in order to shut off the water.

Tank Doesn’t Fill, Water Still Runs:

This usually indicates that your flapper is stuck in the upright position, allowing water to flow freely into the bowl.  Odds are that something is preventing the flapper from going back into the down position.

Water constantly runs into the toilet bowl:

When the flapper does not make a good seal with the bowl, the water will “trickle” into the bowl and you will hear the toilet routinely making noise.  This is a sign that you need to replace the flapper and seal at the bottom of the bowl.

Water is appearing from the bottom of the toilet at the floor:

This is a sure sign that you need to call someone.  There are wax rings hidden underneath your toilet.  Over time and by use of chemical cleaners in your toilet, these wax rings disintegrate and begin to fail.  Water coming out of the bottom of the toilet is a sure sign that the seal is going to go bad or is already bad.




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