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Toilet in Gilbert AZ

Toilet Problems: When Bad Things Happen to Good Toilets

 |  Blog, Plumbing

If your toilet problems continue  to run long after it was flushed or the toilet drains slowly, it may be something you can fix.
First, though, you have to know what’s wrong to begin with.

Your Flapper Leaks

Black Toilet Flapper with chain in Gilbert AZThere is a hole at the bottom of your toilet tank, and this is the hole that water runs through to fill up your toilet bowl after you flush. The hole is covered by a rubber flapper.

When the flapper completely covers the hole, your tank fills up with water and then the water stops running. If the flapper leaks, the toilet has trouble filling up completely and water keeps running. Replacing a flapper is a fairly basic job, so if you are interested in doing it yourself, this is a good project to attempt.

First, press down on the flapper inside your tank. If the water stops running when you do this, you have discovered the problem. If the flapper appears fine, though, check the chain between the flapper and the handle of the toilet. If it is kinked and not allowing the flapper to rest fully over the hole, simply undo any knots in the chain.

If you press down on the flapper, and the chain is fine but the water continues to run, you need to replace the flapper itself.

To replace your flapper, make sure you purchase the right sized one for your tank. Flappers vary in size, and it’s important to find one that fits your toilet, otherwise the problem won’t be fixed. (Your best option is to bring the old one with you to the store.) To make the repair:

  • Turn off the water to your tank, usually on the pipe right below the tank.
  • Drain the existing water in the tank by flushing the toilet with the water off.
  • Once you have the right size flapper, detach the chain on the old one.
  • Remove the flapper from the bottom of the tank by undoing the hinge, and throw the old flapper away.
  • With the new flapper, attach the chain and secure the flapper to the tank with the hinge.
  • Turn the water back on.
  • Allow the tank to fill back up with water and this should fix the problem.


You Have Issues With Your Float

The float within your toilet tank is adjustable, and it controls the water level within the tank itself. If the float is set too high, the water will flow into the overflow tube. This means that the water flow won’t shut off, because the sensor won’t be able to tell that the tank is full. Your water will continue to run until this problem is fixed. Some floats are part of the fill valve. If the float on that style of fill valve will not adjust properly, then the entire fill valve will need to be replaced.

If the float is on a metal arm, you can carefully bend the arm down a little bit first to see if that helps. Bending the arm makes the floater go lower in the tank, allowing the sensor to know when the water is full. The float should ensure that the water fills up at the full mark. If there isn’t a mark on the inside of the tank, the water should be allowed to fill about one inch below the overflow tube.

You can replace the float on the tank by removing the old one and replacing it with a new one, but this isn’t usually needed. You won’t need to drain the water out of the tank for this repair.

Your Fill Valve Needs to be Replaced

If the float is in the right place, and there is nothing wrong with the flapper, then it is time to replace the fill valve unit. You can do this project on your own by buying a basic fill valve at the hardware store. Fill valves are not specific to your toilet, so most fill valves will work on your existing toilet.

To replace the fill valve:

  • Start by turning off the water to the toilet.
  • Once the water is turned off, press down the handle to flush the toilet, letting as much water as you can out of the tank.
  • Remove any water left in the tank using a shop vac.

Once the tank is dry, it’s time to detach the fill valve from the water supply valve. A nut holds the fill valve in place. You must loosen this nut in order to get the fill valve out of the toilet tank.

  • With the new valve in hand, attach the new valve to the toilet tank in the same place.
  • Use a nut to secure the new fill valve in place.
  • Reattach the water supply valve to the fill valve. It’s also a good idea to replace the water supply line when replacing the fill valve.
  • Allow the toilet tank to fill up and then try flushing. This will let you know if your repair was successful or not.

If you don’t have the tools to replace a fill valve, it is probably time to call in an expert plumber. Most of these issues are incredibly satisfying to fix, as they remove ongoing annoyances. If these toilet problems continue, bring in an Isley’s expert anywhere in the Phoenix, AZ area to investigate what’s going on.

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