How to Fix Broken Toilet Parts
While we don’t usually think about it, toilets really are an integral part of our lives. When they malfunction, it can cause loads of unnecessary stress and headache. Additionally, when most people notice something is wrong with their toilet, they panic.
However, it’s possible to try and fix a clogged toilet or any other issue before calling in the plumbers at All Dry USA to help. If you want to enhance your DIY skills, then keep reading to learn how to fix toilet parts. We give you the two most common dilemmas homeowners have with their toilets and what parts to fix for each issue.
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Parts That Cause Running Water Issues
Possessing the know-how to fix a running toilet promptly can save your family tons of money on your water bill. This issue is another particularly common problem that causes many people to think there is a major issue with the toilet. Sometimes the problem is remarkably simple.
Before you panic, lift off the tank lid to see if there are any apparent issues. Some things to look for include obstructions that are preventing the flapper valve from closing all the way. This part is located at the bottom of the tank. See if the chain is tangled and therefore keeping the flapper open.
When it comes to leaky toilets, complicated problems usually have to do with:
- The fill valve
- The flush valve
Determining where the problem is coming from is a fairly straightforward process. If you are looking in the toilet tank and notice that water is rushing into the overflow tube, then you likely have an issue with the fill valve. However, if you see that the water level is low, then your problem most likely lies with the flush valve.
How to Repair the Fill Valve
If you are determining an issue with your fill valve, several different things could be wrong. Luckily, most of them are relatively easy to fix. Below we will give you the information you need to solve some of the most common fill valve problems.
Re-position the Float
Adjusting the float in your toilet may be all you need to do to stop it from running. Most toilets contain some sort of sensor that determines when the tank has reached the proper water level. This sensor usually takes the form of a ball on the end of a rod or just a floating arm.
Sometimes this part merely becomes loose and your toilet does not know that its tank is already full of water. Therefore, it keeps pumping water in. Attempt to adjust this mechanism in your toilet to see if that fixes the problem. Many valves contain an adjustment screw that makes this process remarkably straightforward.
Flush the Valve
Over time, debris can infiltrate your fill valve and prevent the flush valve from closing correctly. However, you can remedy this by simply running water through the system to flush out any issues. You can do this in two easy steps.
- Step One: Remove the Fill Valve Cap
While this process likely varies slightly depending on the type of toilet, the general procedure is the same. When you lift the lid off the tank of the toilet, you will see some sort of circular plastic cap connected to the float device. You will need to remove this cap by pressing down on it and turning it counterclockwise or with some other similar motion until it comes off.
It is important to note that some models may require you to remove a few screws before removal is possible.
- Step Two: Flush with Water
Once the lid of the fill valve has been removed, you will need to rinse the internal mechanism with water. Make sure to cover the top of the valve with your hand so that you don’t get an unexpected shower. Then, carefully turn on the water and let it run for a few moments.
Replace the Washer
While you have the fill valve cap off for the previous fix, it would be prudent to inspect it to see if the washer is cracked or damaged in any way. If you find this to be the case, then that could be the root cause of your toilet problems. You may need to use a flat-tipped screwdriver to pry the damaged washer out.
Once it is out, you should take it with you to the home improvement store to get a replacement because it can often be challenging to find the right match. Unfortunately, because it is so difficult to find the right washer for a particular model of toilet, you may be forced to replace the entire valve, as will be detailed below.
Replace the Entire Valve
If nothing above seems to work in fixing your fill valve, then you may have to resort to replacing it. However, luckily, this is not a particularly challenging process and only involves a few simple tools.
- Step One: Remove All Water from the Tank
First, you must turn off the water to your toilet and remove all water from your tank using a wet vacuum if necessary. This process will ensure a dry environment in which for you to work.
- Step Two: Remove the Coupling Nut
Then, you will need to remove the coupling nut that connects the water supply line to your toilet. You will likely need a set of adjustable pliers to unscrew it from the outside and a second pair of locking pliers to hold it in place from inside the tank.
There will likely be water stored in the tube that the coupling nut is collecting, so you may want to consider laying a towel on the ground to soak up any remaining water.
- Step Three: Remove the Existing Flapper Valve
Remove the locknut that holds the valve to the toilet tank. Unscrew the nut and take out the old valve.
- Step Four: Measure the Overflow Tube
Measure how tall the overflow is. Make sure to measure to the top, not to any markings present on the tube. This process is crucial for the next step.
- Step Five: Adjust the Height of the New Valve
Take the height you measured in the previous step and add one inch. This height should match the height of the base of the valve to the critical level mark. Adjust the new valve as necessary by holding the base and twisting the top into place.
- Step Six: Install the New Valve
Put the new valve in place and, with the cap removed, press down on it to compress the washer and locknut in the right position. Reconnect the water supply line, flush the valve, put the cap back on, and check for leaks.
- Step Seven: Cut the Fill Tube
Once the fill tube is on the fill valve and the angle adaptor is clipped onto the overflow tube, cut the fill tube so that it matches up with the angle adaptor and connect them.
- Step Eight: Adjust the Float
Turn the water back on and then adjust the float until its position matches that of the water line marked on the toilet tank.
How to Fix the Flush Valve
When the issue has to do with the flush valve rather than the fill valve, the problem is usually a worn flapper. Replacing this piece of rubber will generally stop your toilet from running.
However, the problem could also be with your chain. If the chain is too long and easily becomes tangled, you may need to replace it with a shorter one.
Parts That Cause a Broken Toilet Handle
It’s possible that your toilet handle is stuck, rusting, or even too loose. You can either replace the handle entirely, or tighten the nut inside to make the handle more secure.
To tighten the nut:
- Open the tank and set it down on a soft spot, like a towel or carpet. Otherwise, you could end up damaging that too.
- Then, unhook the lift chain that’s attached to the flush valve.
- Using a crescent wrench, turn the nut that holds the handle. Before you turn, know that most of these parts need to be turned the opposite way as you normally would, so turn to the left to tighten this part. However, don’t turn too hard. Go slowly. Then test your handle to see if it’s more secure.
If it’s not secure still, you’ll need to replace the handle altogether.
To replace the handle:
- You’ll need to purchase a toilet trip lever, which include the handle and swing arm. However, you’ll need to know your brand and model before you purchase so it’s the right fit. Check the serial number on the inside of the porcelain and write that info down. You could also unscrew the old handle first and bring it to the store to find the perfect match.
- Once you have your new handle, return to the toilet. Turn the nut the other way (to the right) to unscrew the old one.
- Insert the new handle’s arm into the hole.
- Slide the nut over the arm and turn it to the left this time.
- Attach the chain as the old one was connected
- Do some test flushes – hopefully your handle feels exactly the way that it should.
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Hopefully, you now feel more confident in dealing with toilet repair on your own. However, if you still feel uncomfortable or think that the problem is more severe than what you can handle, then you should definitely seek professional help.
Plumbing professionals like us here at All Dry USA are always ready to serve you and make sure that minor toilet problems don’t turn into major catastrophes. Call us anytime if you are experiencing a plumbing issue that is outside your comfort zone.
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