Simple Toilet Repairs

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Toilet repairs run the gamut. It can be as extensive as a complete replacement or as simple as replacing a broken flush handle. All of them are well within the ability of the average do-it-yourselfer.

Leaks around the base are usually a sign that the toilet will have to be replaced. In some cases, it’s a simple tear in the wax paper that was used to seal the hole in the floor. Sometimes a kind of grease is used instead and it can dry out or acquire a hole. In those cases, the old toilet can be re-used but the steps for repair are the same as installing a new toilet.

Other problems are much more common.

When you hear the toilet water continue to run forever, a few simple things can be the culprit. Inside the tank is a large plastic ball that floats called, not suprisingly, a float. It’s attached to a rod that controls a valve. If the ball never rises enough to shut off the water, it will continue to run.

Test that by pulling up on the rod. The water flow should stop almost instantly. If it does, simply bend the rod down slightly until the ball floats high enough to shut off the valve.

In more typical cases, the cause is the failure of the small rubber stopper or flapper at the base of the tank used to seal off the hole. Water leaks through the hole and the float does its job by falling down as the water level lowers. That opens the valve and the water runs. Continuously. Very annoying.

There are two basic ways to repair that situation.

Sometimes it’s possible to simply take a rough sponge or pad of steel wool and scour off any slime on the base of the rubber stopper. If its surface became uneven due to mold build-up, small cracks open up when it doesn’t seat properly.

Sometimes that rubber stopper can be defective, or the hinges may break. Occasionally the small metal pins that secure the hinges to the toilet may break from having rusted then moved many times. In all such cases, just buy a kit and re-install the stopper using the simple instructions on the package.

It may take years, but the rod connected to the flush handle does sometimes break if made of plastic or corrode until it breaks if made of metal. These are inexpensive and easy to replace. Each will last about as long as the other. Just remove the clip that attaches the rod inside to the chain. Then remove the small plastic and/or metal retaining nuts and replace the part.

On rare occasions it may be necessary to replace the floating ball, water feed tube or other parts. Kits are available that contain all these parts. Installation is simple by following the instructions on the package.

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