As a whole, toilets can last forever. The same can’t be said about some parts that keep a toilet functional. As a homeowner, you’re bound to encounter toilet problems, eventually.
Are you having trouble with your toilet? Whether it’s gurgling, leaking, or running all day, that’s a sign that you need toilet repair. But with the right advice, you can save time and money by fixing it on your own.
It’s time to take out the toolbox and stop ignoring your broken toilet. Read on to discover how to solve some common toilet issues.
5 Toilet Repair Tips for Beginners
1. Preparing for Toilet Repair
Before repairing toilets of any kind, know what you’re working with. Toilets are made of porcelain. This material is brittle and will crack under stress.
Not only will this ruin your toilet, but cracked porcelain is especially dangerous. Take additional care while performing any work on your toilet.
For example, always place the toilet tank lid on a safe, flat surface. Use a firm grip and gentle movements for extra protection. While your sink may rest right beside the toilet, there may not be enough counter space to provide a safe resting spot.
Whenever you’re tightening bolts or other toilet accessories, don’t use more force than you need. Otherwise, you could crack the toilet or damage the metal.
Last, know when it’s safe to leave the water running. You may need to disable your water and drain the tank for some repairs. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional plumber beforehand.
2. Correcting a Running Toilet
You flushed the toilet hours ago, but it’s still running. What gives?
Although it’s easy to fix a running toilet, it’s tricky to diagnose the problem. Many toilet problems can ultimately cause a toilet to run. And if you don’t fix them, you’ll continue to leak money through your monthly water bill.
First, check the tank. Remove the toilet lid and place it on a flat surface. At the bottom of your tank rests a plastic flapper connected to a chain.
Investigate the toilet flapper and check for a tight seal. As flappers age, they begin to break down. It’s normal to have to replace flappers over time.
If the flapper is in good shape, but the water level in the tank continues to drop, you may need toilet valve repair. The flush valve is likely malfunctioning.
But what if the water level is high? Sometimes debris builds up in the fill valve, so see if you can clean it first. Otherwise, it may be time to replace it.
Here are some other signs you might need to replace your fill valve.
3. Fixing a Toilet Flush Handle
You flushed the toilet, or tried to, only to discover the handle is loose. You’re lucky. This is often the most straightforward toilet repair job.
Take the top off the tank and search for the nut that keeps your handle secure. Then use your fingers and see if it needs to be tightened.
Seems good? Then something is wrong with the chain. A metal chain should connect your handle to the plastic flapper at the bottom of the tank.
Sometimes the chain slides free from one of the ends. Just snap it back in place. Other times, you’ll discover the chain has worn down and broke in two.
If this happened to you, you’ll want to head to a home improvement store to purchase a new toilet chain. The length sometimes requires some fiddling during the replacement process.
4. Stopping a Toilet Leak
Is water pooling around your toilet? That’s one of the signs you need a plumber. However, you may be able to fix the leak yourself.
First, investigate the water supply valve. That’s the metal piece where the water line attaches. Check the connection, the line, and the valve for any signs of water.
All good? Sometimes the issue can happen in the toilet tank. If you discover water dripping from the bottom of the tank, you’ll have to replace some of the seals on its bolts.
The last common leak occurs at the base of the toilet. A wax ring is supposed to seal the base of the toilet to prevent leaks, but these pieces all degrade over time. You’ll have to unbolt the toilet and replace the ring yourself.
5. Repairing a Cracked or Loose Toilet Seat
Replacing a toilet seat is one of the easiest toilet repairs you can make. You might have to make this fix if your seat becomes cracked, loose, or you want to replace it with a new seat.
You’ll find the anchoring screws behind the toilet bowl and under the seat. These can corrode and rust over time, which can sometimes complicate the process. Get your hands on a torque wrench and do your best to unseat the two nuts.
The seat should come right off. Fit the replacement seat in place and screw the nuts back on. Or, if you’re fixing a loose seat, just add toilet seat stabilizers under the nuts.
It’s that easy.
Need Professional Plumbing Help?
Toilet repair is a mixed bag. Sometimes you just need to replace a seal or tighten a nut. But if you’re not so lucky, you could be looking at a serious leak beyond your expertise.
If the above tips did not solve your issue, leave toilet repair to the professionals. Millwood Plumbing has thirty years of experience and served over 15,000 customers. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.