A failing commode is one of the most frustrating home nuisances. Fortunately, most toilet related problems are relatively easy to fix once you’ve diagnosed the problem.
(Consult our handy Troubleshooting Guide for more)
Figuring out what’s wrong requires a firm grasp on the different elements inside the tank.
In this post we’ll cover the ins and outs of basic toilet repair parts to help make your DIY, fully functional fixes a breeze.
The fill valve is easy to locate. Simply follow the water intake from the bottom left-hand corner of the tank straight up.
The fill valve regulates the flow of water into the tank from the water supply. Once the tank is emptied from a flush the valve opens to let water into the tank (and into the bowl via the fill tube). Once the tank is full, the valve closes.
On top of the fill valve you’ll find a small screw for adjusting the height of the water in the tank.
Potential Problems: A fill valve can fail when the casing cracks or the internal tubes clog with sediment. A leaky fill valve often just needs to be tightened but seals do wear out over time.
Ball Float & Float Arm
Attached to the top of the fill valve is the float. This air-filled ball rises with the water level to push the fill valve closed once it reaches a certain height.
While the ball float and float arm are unlikely to fail, most toilet repair kits come with replacements to screw into a new fill valve.
Overflow Tube & Flush Valve
Located in the center of the tank, the overflow tube prevents a faulty fill valve from flooding the bathroom. Excess water spills into the tube down to the bowl instead of gushing over the sides of the tank.
The overflow tube is connected in a single piece to the flush valve, where water enters the bowl to empty waste.
Potential Problems: While a flush valve seal does have the potential to weaken and fail over time, the most common issue with the flush valve is a warped flapper.
The most commonly replaced toilet part is inexpensive and super easy to swap out. The flapper is lifted by a short metal chain when you press the handle to initiate the flush.
Once the flush is complete the flapper falls back into place, creating a seal and preventing more water from entering the bowl.
Potential Problems: The slightest warp, crack or tear in the flapper will cause it to leak.
Tank Bolts & Seals
Designed to attach the tank to your toilet base with a watertight seal, tank bolts should be replaced any time your tank is leaking through the gaskets or when replacing the inner workings of your toilet.
A toilet repair kit will include a new flush valve seal, which goes under the tank. This seals the connection between the tank and the base.
Don’t Cheap Out on Repair Parts
Toilet repair kits come in a wide range of price and quality. Just remember that low-grade parts will wear out much sooner than quality components.
Never choose the cheapest repair parts unless you REALLY enjoy fixing toilets and can’t wait to do it again next year!