Toilet Troubleshooting and Repair

robondell says:
I've replaced the flapper assembly but water continues to seep into the bowl. I'm thinking the outfl...... more
I've replaced the flapper assembly but water continues to seep into the bowl. I'm thinking the outflow tube gasket (is there such a thing?)needs replacing.

Toilet replacement parts are readily available and usually not difficult to install, no matter how old the toilet is. If a toilet is cracked, it needs to be replaced. However, you may want to replace one if it's out of style.

To determine what's wrong with your toilet, start by looking under the tank lid. If flushes are incomplete, check that the water level reaches the proper level -- an inch or less from the top of the overflow tube. If the toilet constantly hisses or if water seeps into the bowl, the tank water level may be too high. The excess water is slowly overflowing into the overflow tube and into the bowl. Adjusting the water level is usually a simple matter. In some cases, however, the fill valve may need to be repaired or replaced.

If the toilet is clogged, use a plunger or an auger to clear the problem.

If water seeps out the bottom of the bowl when the toilet is flushed, the wax ring needs to be replaced.


Less than an hour for most repairs

Screwdriver, groove-joint pliers, adjustable wrench, toilet plunger, pressure plunger, toilet auger, locking pliers, small mirror, toothbrush, bottle brush, nonmetallic scrubbing pad

Making simple plumbing corrections

Place a drop cloth on the floor; set the tank lid aside

Repair parts, new float-cup assembly if needed

Solutions to Common Toilet Problems

  • Bowl overflows or will not flush freely: Clear a clog with a plunger, pressure plunger, or toilet auger.
  • Toilet does not flush: Check that the handle is connected to the flapper via a chain or to the stopper via a lift rod. Check that water is turned on and running into the tank.
  • Incomplete (short) flushes: Check the water level in the tank and adjust the float ball, chain, or lift rod. Flush the toilet and watch the flapper or the stopper; if it goes down too soon, replace it.
  • Handle is loose: Tighten the nut holding the handle to the tank. Check the handle's connection to the wire or the lift rod.
  • Water sprays out of the tank: Reattach the refill tube to the overflow tube.
  • Run-on: Adjust the float ball, stopper, or cup. Replace a leaky float ball or stopper. If the water level still rises above the overflow tube, repair or replace the fill valve.
  • Water continusosly seeps into the bowl, making it necessary to jiggle the handle (you hear occasional "phantom flushes"): Clean the flush valve seat and adjust the flapper or stopper. You may need to replace the flapper or stopper.
  • Leak from the tank: Check and tighten water supply connection. Tighten tank bolts. Replace the tank if it is cracked.
  • Leak from the base of the bowl: Remove the toilet, replace the wax ring, and reinstall the toilet. Replace the bowl if it is cracked.

Three Types of Fill Valves

A float-cup assembly and diaphragm valve have reliable plastic parts. A ballcock valve has brass and rubber parts. The brass parts last for decades and the rubber parts that be replaced when worn.


Comments (6)
robondell wrote:

I've replaced the flapper assembly but water continues to seep into the bowl. I'm thinking the outflow tube gasket (is there such a thing?)needs replacing.

3/20/2011 02:21:19 PM Report Abuse
olan_p1 wrote:

How to adjust water level?

3/9/2011 07:25:29 AM Report Abuse
ktnick7 wrote:

put new metal surport ring on flang, but still leaking at base!!

2/10/2011 01:03:18 PM Report Abuse
bjoec55 wrote:

Axlemax,try to tighten the bolts that secure the tank to the toilet,should be two of them,but not too tight the tank could crack.

12/9/2010 07:43:33 AM Report Abuse
billyprince4646 wrote:

will you all email me & let know how to fix it...

8/19/2010 04:25:41 AM Report Abuse
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