Advice on Toilet Repair and Installation


The homeowner can do many common toilet repairs with only a few common tools. A pair of water pump or channel lock pliers, a flat tip screwdriver, locking pliers and an adjustable wrench are all that are needed for toilet repair or installation.

One common toilet repair is for an inlet valve that will not shut off. Modern float valves have a diaphragm that is compressed by a lever raised by the float. This diaphragm will trap small pieces of sand or stone preventing it from seating properly. First shut off the water using the valve under the toilet. Next remove the tank lid and gently depress the lever at the top of the inlet pipe to release any water pressure. Grasp the pipe with one hand and press down on the plastic cover over the float lever with the other. Turn counter clock wise to release the locking tabs. Lift the cover and remove any debris. If the particles of grit are too small to remove your fingers, replace the tank lid and momentarily turn on the water supply to flush it out. Simply reverse procedure when all debris is removed.

Installation of a new toilet seat is simple. You will need a flat tip screwdriver and a pair of pliers. If the old seat has metal screws you may need to spray a little penetrating oil on the nuts and let it sit for fifteen minutes. Holding the screw on top of the bowl, remove the nuts with the pliers. Locking pliers will be useful if the nut is stiff. Install the new seat using the screw and nuts provided. New seats generally come with plastic screws and nuts. It is a good idea to use your fingers to tighten these to avoid damage.

Another simple toilet repair is replacing a faulty float valve. Shut off water supply. Remove small hose from overflow tube inside tank. Next, disconnect water line from bottom of tank and using pliers remove nut from inlet pipe. For installation, follow instructions for washers to avoid leaks. Be sure to replace water hose to overflow tube. Inspect the water line before installation. If the rubber washer looks cracked or is hard you should replace it to avoid future leaks.

The most complicated toilet repair is a leaking tank seal. Begin by turning off water supply and disconnecting water hose from tank. Flush toilet several times and remove any excess water with a sponge. Apply a small amount of penetrating oil to nuts on underside of tank and wait fifteen minutes. Next using a screwdriver to hold the screws inside of tank remove the nuts with pliers. After removing both nuts carefully lift the tank off the bowl and place upside down on the floor. Remove the old seal from the bottom of tank. Push screws out and remove any seals from inside of tank. Carefully clean the areas where the seals go and follow instructions provided with seal kit. When seating the tank with a new seal line it up carefully. Tighten the new screws evenly, turning each one a little at a time. Do not over tighten screws. Check for leaks and re-tighten screws if necessary.

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