How To Toilet Repair

How to Fix Toilet

Toilet repair can easily be accomplished by diagnosing the problem, obtaining the correct parts and simply following the manufacturers instructions on the packaging the parts came in. A toilet is divided into two sections for the most part, the tank and the bowl. The most common problems are leaks caused by a defective flapper and flush valve. The fill valve going bad is probably the second most common problem. The first thing you want to do in any case is to turn off the water supply before you can begin any repair. This is usually done by turning the cutoff valve. There are many mobile homes that don't have cutoff valves on the toilet water supply line making any toilet repair difficult. This is a great time to add one. You can get Apollo inline valves that will easily install to allow you to cut the water off without having to shut off either the main water valve under the home or the main valve at either the well pump house or water meter. Pictured below is an Apollo valve that will work on CPVC, PEX, Copper or PB polybutylene water supply line pipe.
PEX Copper CPVC PB Polybutylene Compression Type Cutoff Valve

PEX Copper CPVC PB Polybutylene Compression Type Cutoff Valve

Replace Toilet Flapper and Flush Valve

Toilet flappers are for the most part universal, however there are some toilets the require that the flapper and other components be replaced with exact match parts to prevent leaking. The most common symptom of the flapper or the flush valve being defective is all of a sudden the toilet starts to fill up when no one has flushed the toilet. You can place toilet leak tablets or simply put food dye in the tank and let it sit for a while to see if the dye starts migrating into the bowl. This would indicate that the flapper is allowing water to leak by into the bowl. So when the tank level drops low enough the fill valve fills the tank back up, sometimes called phantom, automatic or ghost flushing. Defective flappers can greatly increase your water bill because of continuous running. It has been estimated that a leaking flapper can waste as much as 30 to 500 gallons a day! Below is a picture of a flush valve with the flapper attached. This is a flapper and flush valve that is most commonly found for brands like American Standard. Some brands such as Kohler may require purchasing their parts. It is best to take the the defective parts with you to a hardware store to compare for fit and compatibility before you buy. The flapper is easily replaced just follow the package instructions.  If the flush valve is OK, then just replacing the flapper will suffice. Remember to match the chain length on the flapper when changing it out. Sometimes the lip of the flush valve gets worn and then the whole flush valve assembly would need to be replaced. To replace the flush valve would require separating the tank from the bowl. If it is necessary to do that you will need a " tank to bowl " kit. This will have to be specifically for your brand of toilet. This will consist of a new tank to bowl seal and new tank bolts with rubber grommets and washers. Luckily, there are some kits available that allow you to add a new surface to the flush valve seat without having to take the tank off the bowl, saving you a lot of trouble.

 Toilet Repair Flush Valve Kit

Toilet Repair Flush Valve Kit Picture

Flush Valve with Flapper Flush Valve Repair Kit Picture
 Flush Valve with Flapper Flush Valve Repair Kit

Toilet Fill Valve Repair

The fill valve is of course the device that lets water into the tank to replenish it after a flush. These fill valves after time will either fail to shut off properly, causing water to spill over the tube on the flush valve, or may clog up and not allow water to enter the tank. Replacing them is an easy task. Pictured below is a Fluidmaster model 400A fill valve and is the most typically used universal fit available. This the one I use mostly. There are cases where you have to use a specific brand because of the way the toilet is made.

Toilet Fill Valve Picture
Toilet Fill Valve

Just simply follow the instructions that comes with the fill valve. Note that there are some parts that come with the fill valve that you may not use. Because this is a universal kit the are some washers and tubing  attachment parts you may or may not need to replace. If you have any other plumbing problems I suggest you look at the plumbing repair page.