How to Fix a Leaky Toilet

Fixing a leaky toilet is really a matter of investigative reporting; first discovering where the leak originates and then addressing it by following these easy steps.

First, be sure you have the right tools on hand; adjustable wrenches, closet bolts, putty knife, hacksaw, screwdriver, wax ring, canister flush valve seal and a flapper (depending on the kind of toilet you have).

Check to see where the toilet is leaking. If water is coming from the bottom, the problem could be the wax ring.

first, turn off the water and flush the toilet to remove any remaining water. Next, remove the nuts from the closet bolts, and disconnect the water supply line. Take the tank off the bowl by removing the nuts from the bolts under the tank.

Now you’re going to lift the bowl off the wax ring and lay it on a towel on its side. With the toilet off, you should be able to see the leak.

Scrape the wax ring from the flange, removing any excess wax with a putty knife from both the flange and the toilet. Take out the closet bolts and slide the new ones into the toilet flange.

Place the new wax ring over the drain hole, and lift the bowl so the closet bolts are centered and the toilet can be positioned correctly over the wax ring. Press down on the bowl – even sitting on it if necessary – to press it into place, and place the washers and nuts on the closet bolts and tighten them down.

Replace the tank and reconnect the water supply.

If the toilet is not leaking from the bowl, it could be leaking or running from the tank. There are a few solutions to remedy this problem.

Certain tanks have canister flush systems. to remove the canister, disconnect the water hose and turn the canister counter-clockwise and lift it up. On the underside you’ll see a rubber gasket. This can break down over time and need to be replaced.

Some canister flush systems will need the ball adjusted. Just turn the screw to raise or lower the ball as needed.

Just pull the old gasket off the canister and discard. Seat the new gasket by fitting into the slot around the bottom of the canister. To put the canister back in place, line up the plastic pin with the hole in the drain flange, and twist clockwise and lock it into place before replacing the water hose.

If you have a ball float in your toilet, you might have to adjust the float arm to prevent the water from continually running.

You’ll know the angle of the float arm is off if you lift the arm and the water stops filling. You can try to bend the float arm to lower the ball, or you can loosen the float arm screw to lower the ball as well.

If your toilet has a flapper for the drain hole, then it may need to be checked. Just remove it from the hooks and look to see if anything is preventing it from making a good seal. If so, replace it.

You’ll also need to make sure the chain from the flushing handle to the flapper isn’t too long. This can get caught in the flapper and cause it to not seal properly so adjust it as necessary.

For all types of flushing systems, once you’ve made all your adjustments, replace the cover of the tank and turn on the water supply. The tank will start to fill, and you should check for any leaking.

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