You could call us, but fixing a running toilet is something anyone can do themselves. There is one hard part, which requires patience, but still, anyone with the right tools and little mechanical ability can do this.
First and foremost…… Do not do a partial fix.
You can just change the flapper valve, or you can just change the fill valve. Either way, your chances of a fix are 50/50. If you fully rebuild the guts of your toilet, you’ll fix it. Guaranteed.
A flapper valve costs about $5. A fill valve mechanism costs about $15. The kit for a full rebuild costs about $30. It’s worth the extra money to do it once and not have to do it again.
If you’ve done this before, expect to spend between one to one and a half hours on this task. If this is your first time, it will take longer.
This procedure assumes a two piece toilet where the tank can be removed from the bowl. If you have a single piece toilet, the concepts are the same, but some of the specific steps are a little different. I will discuss how to disassemble your existing toilet. The instructions in the toilet rebuild kit will tell you how to re-assemble, and the re-assembly is much quicker than the dis-assembly.
Use the Korky brand Universal Toilet Repair Kit. It’s available at almost every hardware store.
The tools you will need are:
– A wet/dry shop vac comes in handy, but is not essential.
– A small crescent wrench.
– A pair of locking pliers.
– A large flat blade screwdriver.
– A channel lock (A large wrench with a very wide and adjustable mouth)
Now you’re ready:
Step 1 – Shut off the water to the toilet.
Step 2 – Flush the toilet to empty the tank (this will not full empty the tank).
Step 3 – If you have a shop vac, vacuum out the excess water from the tank. If you lack a shop vac, skip this step.
Step 4 – Disconnect the supply line from the bottom of the fill valve (the supply line runs from the valve to the toilet). Then disconnect the supply line from the valve. You will replace the supply line so take yours to the store to get one with the exact same types of connectors on the end.
Step 5 – Remove the fill valve. As you do this, water will leak from the tank through this hole. If you were able to vacuum the water out of the tank, very little water will spill through. If you were not able to, all the remaining water in the tank will spill through. Have old towels ready.
Step 6 – THIS IS THE HARD STEP – Remove the tank from the bowl. What makes this hard is the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl have been sitting in water for God knows how long, and they’ve somewhat rusted in place. Removing these bolts is what takes patience.
Step 6a – Grab the nut at the bottom of one of the bolt with the locking pliers. You’ll need to experiment with how far to open/close the locking pliers to get a good grip, and you need a good grip.
Step 6b – Once the locking pliers are securely on the nut on the bottom, you then need to turn the bolt from the top. The lock pliers will prevent the nut from turning as the bolt is turned. However, that bolt will be hard to turn. The use of the screwdriver itself may not be enough. You may need extra torque. So what you do is, fit the blade of the screw driver firmly into the slot on the top of the bolt, then grab the top of the screw driver with the channel locks. The channel locks give you the extra torque you’ll need to turn the bolt. GO SLOW. Several small turns will remove the bolt from the nut. Do this for both bolts. If the bolt is really really hard to turn, you may need to use Liquid Wrench to loosen the rust. If so, follow the instructions on the Liquid Wrench can. I’ve also been told that Coca Cola (and presumably Pepsi) works as well as Liquid Wrench, but I’ve never tried it.
Step 6c – Once the nuts are off the bottom of the bolts, lift the tank off the bowl. You then need to remove the bolts from the tank itself. Lay a towel on the floor and lay the toilet tank on the towel. Grab the nut on the bottom of the tank with the locking plier, and turn the bolt with the screw driver. Use the “extra torque” method from above as needed.
Step 7 – Remove the flush valve (it’s the only remaining mechanism) by removing the rubber gasket from the bottom of the tank then turning the large nut that holds the flush valve to the tank.
Now, everything that was in your toilet tank is off.
From this point, follow the instructions included with the Korky Toilet Rebuilt Kit for re-assembly, and follow the instructions EXACTLY. The washers have to go on exactly as shown to ensure the toilet doesn’t leak.
When reattaching the supply line, do not use silicon tape or silicon goop. Supply lines have built in rubber washers, and this is in fact why you got a new one. On the old supply line, the rubber washer was compressed. To ensure a better leak proof fit, you want new rubber washers in your supply line, which means a new supply line.
The only caveat from this point is once you are finished, the tank will seem a bit wobbly. This is normal. The rubber seals that hold the tank to the bowl are new and flexible, whereas the old ones were old and stiff. Don’t worry about this, the seals will stiffen up over time.
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