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DIY Plumbing Jobs You Can Do Now: Toilet Repair 101

Last week, we talked about 6 DIY plumbing jobs you can execute with confidence. To help you gain more knowledge and increase your plumbing repair confidence, let’s now look more in depth at DIY toilet repair. As a starting point, follow the advice often given to me by my son, “just google it or watch a youtube video”. By following that advice, we found some great “how to” links for toilet repair. Using instructions posted by experts better equips you when your next DIY plumbing project presents itself, and you won’t be intimidated by the inside of your toilet. Let’s get started with those toilet repairs!

DIY Toilet Repair

Most toilet repairs require replacement of worn parts. Replaceable toilet parts include fill valves, flush valves, handles, and tanks. The flush valve lets water into the toilet bowl when flushed. The fill valve lets water into the tank to refill it after a flush. The handle is connected to the flush valve and of course, the tank holds the water used for flushing.

Now that you understand the purpose of the toilet parts, look at the issues with your toilet and decide what needs to be repaired. Signs that something is amiss in the toilet include the following:

  • Continued running after the tank is filled
  • Intermittent running of the toilet
  • Leaks around either valve
  • Leaks due to cracks in the tank
  • Loose toilet handles

For diagnosing your toilet problem, let’s look at the issues caused by each replaceable part

Tank Issues

Plumber for toilet repair

Image by Pixabay

The tank is the place to look first when having toilet problems. Both the fill and flush valves can cause leaks, but a crack in the tank is another possibility. A crack in the tank can cause the toilet to run either constantly or intermittently. Unfortunately, a crack in the tank generally means you need to replace the toilet completely. Unless you are experienced, you might consider calling the plumber for that! If no cracks are found in the tank, move on to the next possible broken part.

Fill Valve Issues

As we discussed, the fill valve lets water in to refill the tank after each flush. The repetitive motion of flushing can cause wear and tear on the valve and its moving parts. To help you decide if the fill valve is the cause of your toilet problems, remove the lid and check the overflow tube inside the tank. If water is going into that tube, there is likely an issue with your fill valve. According to Home Depot, the fill valve is easy to replace. Once you have decided that the fill valve is your issue, access this DIY link, for step by step replacement instructions. The time estimate for this repair is 1 to 2 hours.

Flush Valve Issues

The flush valve allows water to rush into the toilet bowl when flushing. Once again, the overflow tube is a good indicator of what is going on in your toilet. If the water level is below the top of the overflow tube, the flush valve is letting water slowly leak into the toilet bowl. This constant leak keeps the valve from closing completely. This is the most common reason for noisy toilets, as well as one of the more difficult replacements. It generally requires removing the tank from the toilet bowl. If the flush valve is your toilet repair issue, watch this video from planitDIY for thorough replacement instructions.

Toilet repair plumber

Image by Pixabay

Toilet Handle Issues

While valves and tanks are important to the major functioning of your toilet and often have repair issues, handles don’t usually wear out. Handles are worth changing though because they can add aesthetic value to your bathroom. Replacing the handle when it is loose, rusty, or simply outdated is one of the easiest toilet repair tasks and can update your bathroom in a few minutes. See these simple instructions from House Logic for easy replacement of your toilet handle.

Understanding the inside workings of your toilet makes toilet repairs less intimidating. Repairs are generally inexpensive and doing them yourself saves even more money. While toilet repair is not costly, other home system and appliance repairs are expensive. You now know how to repair the toilet. You may need a home warranty for more expensive repairs. 

Remember to turn off the water before starting those toilet repairs, and consider consulting a plumber if toilet replacement is required. Pat yourself on the back for doing toilet repairs yourself and stay tuned for our next blog with more DIY plumbing tips!!  

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