Friday, 20 March 2009

Running Toilet: Repair It Yourself

Is your toilet running all the time and never stops? It overflows often or gets stuck when pulling the handle? Is the noise of your toilet keeping you awake in the night? Don't call the plumber yet. Toilet repairing is not that hard as it looks if you know a little more about how to fix a running toilet.

The toilet tank, when open, will reveal the valve and float (in the left), overflow tube and flapper and the handle that is connected to the toilet lever and chain.

What is in your toilet? All the toilets have the same principles of work, even if the way they do it can be different. Try flushing and watch the tank components at work.Pushing the handle will bake the chain lift a flapper and the water will fall from the tank into the bowl from an opening. When the water level gets lower then the flapper drops and the opening will be close.

The floater sinks with the water and releases the valve that lets more water into the tank, filling it again. That in turn makes the floater rise and it should stop the valve when the tank is full, ready for a new use.

The middle tube is an overflow safety that takes all the excess water from the tank if the water level is too high and drops it into the bowl.

See it for yourself. If, after the flushing, the toilet runs for too much time, lift the lid and look into the tank.

The whole mechanism must work together. Be sure that the components they do not tangle each other.

Manually close the flapper. The tank is not filling and it is not full, while the water escapes into the bowl? Then the flapper is stuck open. All you have to do is to reach it with your hand and push it down to close it. If this problems is repeating then look for the problem.

Look if the chain is tangled, or the flapper is not aligned with the opening. The chain and the flapper can be stuck together or the flapper is stiff from wear and it needs to be replaced. These are the most common issues for this problem.

Manually adjust the float and valve. In case of overflowing, when the water keeps running over the top of the overflow tube and the toilet is running for ever you can adjust the float that connects with the valve. Rise the float with your hand. The water should stop pouring into the tank. Adjust the float so that the water will fill the tank close to an inch (2.5 cm) below the overflow tube opening. Don't let the tank fill more, as that will cause a leaking flapper from the excess pressure. That can happen even on a just bought item, when you fix running toilet.

To modify the float height move this clip. If the float gets around the valve then move the metal clip and get the float down on the wire. For this valve style you must screw in the blue screw or bend the rod. For the float that has a ball on an arm, turn the screws from the top. Bending the arm down may also work.

Change the flapper. The toilet stops and starts again and again? Then your toilet has a slow leak. To be sure try to place ink or some kind of colored liquid into the tank. You may use dye tablets from your hardware store. After some time, one or two hours, check the bowl. If it is colored then you are sure of a slow leak. This means that slow amounts of water flows into the bowl. This is a common issue with the old flappers. They get stiff in time from the wear and catch minerals from the water. The best thing is to replace the flapper. Remove the old one from your tank and go to the closest equipment store and compare it with the new ones. Be sure to buy a replacement that matches for size.

Turn this valve like a faucet, clockwise, to close it. To replace the old part, close the valve that is next to the wall under the tank of your toilet. Empty the toilet by flushing. With the valve closed the tank will stay empty. Get the old flapper from the hinges and release the chain then place the new part in the same spot. Get any dirt or minerals from the rim where the flapper rests. Those may be the cause for the slow leak. Let the water in by opening the top valve.

Flush for couple of times. Check if the chain has the right length and if all the parts are connected properly. Trim the chain by hand if is necessary. Check if the new flapper closes the opening and the water stops pouring after the flushing is done.

Sometimes there are other causes for the slow leak. The overflow rubber tube that connects the overflow tube with the valve may be too low. Rise the valve or the tube height or get the water level lower by lowering the float.

If any other components are broken, like the valve himself or the metal or plastic arm that connects the float with the valve, then it is the time for a replacement of the respective components. If the problem does not seem that serious you can work out a temporary solution using some super glue until you find some time to buy the new part.

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  1. Thanks for the tips! It sounds easy reading it. I’ll try this at home when I encounter this kind of problem. If I get it done successfully, I think I have found a new career, LOL! This is advisable if the owner is a handyman type of person, but if not, might as well call a plumber. It may cost more, but at least you have a long-term assurance that it will be in good condition.

    {Kurt Verdejo}

  2. This is good tip for do-it-yourselfers! ^_^ Temporary fixes are very important to know, but if the problem is more than you can handle, you should definitely call for professional help.

    Althea Tumlin