How To Repair a Toilet
- Replacing flush lever/handle
- Replacing float rod or float ball
- Replacing lift wires/tank ball
- Replacing lift chain and flapper
- Replacing overflow tube
- Replacing flush valve
- Replacing wax ring
- Replacing ballcock
- Replacing tank-to-bowl washer
Note: Refer to toilet diagram for all repairs.
Replacing flush lever/handle
It is not necessary to shut off the water or drain the tank for this repair. Unhook lift wire or chain from flush lever and unscrew locknut holding handle to tank by turning clockwise. Carefully pull handle out through hole in tank wall. Insert new handle into tank, slide locknut over lever onto threaded portion and tighten by turning counter-clockwise. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. Reattach lift wire or chain to proper hole in lever arm, which will allow wires and ball to move freely.
Replacing float rod or float ball
Turn off water supply and flush toilet to empty tank. Remove old float ball or rod by unscrewing counter-clockwise. Replace with new part and turn on water supply. If water level is too high, adjust by bending float rod down or, if too low, bend the float rod up. Be sure to hold float rod with both hands when bending to prevent damage to the ballcock.
Replacing lift wires/tank ball
Turn off water supply and flush toilet to empty tank. Unhook top lift wire from flush lever, then unscrew bottom wire from tank ball and slip out of guide arm on overflow tube. Slip new bottom wire through hook of top wire and through guide arm. Screw onto old or replacement tank ball. Attach top wire to flush lever and check to see that tank ball seats properly. If necessary, loosen and adjust guide arm to seat tank ball properly in flush valve.
Replacing lift chain and flapper
Turn off water supply and flush toilet to empty tank. Remove chain from flush lever. (If you are replacing a tank-type ball with a flapper assembly, remove the old ball, lift wires and tank ball guide arm, and discard.) Remove old flapper by sliding it up and off overflow tube or, for new plastic flush valves, bend flapper ears out and off pins on valve. Replace new flapper by either (1), sliding it down over overflow tube until ring touches bottom of tank and then adjusting the flapper along lines marked “Cut” or (2), slip ears of flapper over pins on flush valve. Reattach chain to flush lever, adjusting length as necessary.
NOTE: Valve opening on brass flush valves should be cleaned with emery cloth or steel wool to remove corrosion and ensure that flapper ball seals properly.
Replacing overflow tube
Turn off water supply and flush toilet to empty tank. Remove spring holding refill tube in place, unscrew lift wires, and remove. Unscrew overflow tube and remove guide arm by loosening screw holding it to overflow tube. Slip guide arm on new tube, screw tube into place, adjust guide arm, and replace lift wires, refill tube, and spring. When adding a tightening overflow tube, be careful not to strip threads by overtightening. A little pipe joint compound on the threads will provide a watertight seal.
Replacing flush valve
Turn off water supply. Flush toilet to empty tank and sponge out excess water. Disconnect lift wire or chain from flush lever handle and refill tube and spring from flush valve. Unscrew ballcock coupling nut and disengage water supply tube. Unscrew nuts from tank-to-bowl connecting bolts and carefully lift tank off bowl. Unscrew flush valve locknut and remove old flush valve. Thoroughly clean tank bottom around flush valve area to ensure that new unit seals properly. With tapered end of flush valve shank washer pointing down, insert discharge tube of new flush valve through bottom of tank and screw on new locknut and tighten securely. Make sure overflow tube of flush valve is in proper position. Reconnect tank to bowl and water supply tube to ballcock. Reattach lift wires or chain to flush lever and refill tube from ballcock to flush valve. Fill tank and check for leaks. Be careful not to overtighten bolts and nuts, as this will crack china tank or bowl.
Replacing wax ring
Turn off water supply. Flush toilet to empty tank and sponge out excess water. Unscrew ballcock coupling nut and disengage water supply tube. Carefully pry off bolt caps and unscrew nuts securing bowl to floor. Carefully lift toilet straight up until bolts in floor have cleared bowl and place toilet aside. Remove old wax ring and clean seating area and toilet floor flange to ensure a good seal. Place new wax ring squarely over floor flange ring. If the new ring has a tapered end, insert this directly into the floor drain pipe. Be sure flange bolts are positioned properly in floor (a little putty will help hold them upright and in place). Lower toilet onto wax ring, pressing down with a slight rotating motion and allowing your body weight to set bowl into place and ensure a tight seal by the wax ring. Slip washers over the bolts and tighten nuts gently until bowl is secure. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN as this could cause china bowl to crack. Replace bolt caps, reconnect water supply tube and seal outside bowl edge to floor with putty or bathtub caulk.
Turn off water supply. Flush toilet to empty tank and sponge out excess water. Remove refill tube from ballcock. Unscrew coupling nut and ballcock locknut. Lift entire ballcock and float assembly from tank. Clean tank bottom where ballcock shank washer seats to be sure of good seal. Insert new ballcock and tighten locknut, being sure float rod fitting faces right direction. Attach water supply tube with coupling nut. Screw float rod fitting assembly into place and reattach refill tube. Turn water on, fill tank and check for leaks. Water level can be adjusted by bending float rod up or down.
Replacing tank-to-bowl washer
Turn off water supply. Flush toilet to empty tank and sponge out excess water. Unscrew ballcock coupling nut and disengage water supply tube. Unscrew nuts from bolts connecting tank to bowl and carefully lift tank off bowl. Remove old washer and thoroughly clean area to ensure that new washer will seal properly. Insert new washer in bowl opening, tapered end down. Carefully replace tank on bowl. Using new bolts, nuts, and washers, secure tank to bowl. Be careful not to crack china tank or bowl by overtightening nuts. Reconnect water supply tube to ballcock. Turn on water and flush toilet to check for leaks.