How to Repair a Leaking Toilet

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

You know, what? Water can be really difficult to live with. Sometimes it runs when you don't want it to and then it won't run right when you do want it. Now take my toilet for example. For the last few days, it's been running on its own.

And when it happened in the middle of the night, I first thought it might be one of those shadowy visitors that goes bump in the dark.
Let me just show you how a toilet works. Now when I push the flush lever out here, this arm comes up, it's attached to a chain and that chain lifts up a flapper valve on the bottom of the tank. When that happens, all the water that's in the tank flows into the toilet bowl and that's what does the flushing.

Now my problem here I'm pretty sure is that the deal between this flapper down here and the seat is faulty. There could be some dirt in there, some corrosion, I could have a little ridge on the flapper, I'm not sure. I'm not even certain that's the problem.

But there is one way I can find out. I'm going to take some food coloring and I'm going to put a few drops in the tank. If in fact, there's water leaking through that valve, then we'll begin to see a little bit of that green dye or food coloring showing up in the toilet bowl. Take a look. Yeah, sure enough, you can see it right there. See that dye just kind of trickling in there?

Well, that's water that's coming into the bowl. So every once in a while the tank level gets to a low point and the valve turns on and refills the tank. And that goes on over and over and over. The result is, an annoying sound and a big waste of water.

Now it is possible just to replace this flapper valve down here, but the problem cause will be in the seat. You know, what I found out is, it's usually better just to rebuild the whole tank works. It doesn't take very long and it's inexpensive, so that's what I'm going to do right now.

Step number one, I'm going to go down here and turn off the water supply to the tank. Now there's always a little bit of residual water in here. And the best way to get that out is with a sponge and a bucket. Now this tank is held on to the toilet base with three bolts.

You can see the heads of them right down here. I'm going to take those bolts out but before I do, I'm going to disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank right here. Well, our tank's loose now.

Just lift this off. Okay, there's our tank. The tank off and this is where the three bolts came through here. The next thing I want to do is take off this large nut because that's what's holding on the flapper valve assembly right here.

Now, this is where the problem was. There's something, there's some reason -- see it right here. If it's gotten hard, maybe there's some calcium deposits on there. I'm not sure. But it's not making a good seal, a good contact down here. So -- bye bye. I'll take this gasket off here. The next thing I want to remove is the flush valve.

Now this is a fairly new model. As you see, I've got some mineral deposits and some things going on up here, so I'm just going to replace this too. So in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes, I've been able to strip everything off this tank and now I'm ready to rebuild it.

This is the flapper valve, our new flapper valve. I'm going to insert this down the tank. And then just throw this on. Next, I slip a new gasket, it's part of the repair kit, over the large nut, then install the bolts, washers and nuts that will allow me to secure the tank to the bowl.

All right, now let's take a look inside. See what we've got going on here. Now here's our new flapper valve. Now I'll drop in the new flush valve right through that hole down there. The flush valve is held in place with a nylon nut.

Now I want this snug, but I've got to be careful not to over tighten it. Now it should be ready to set this back in place. So I'll just lift the tank up -- align those three bolts with the holes in the base. The tank is attached to the bowl by slipping rubber and metal washers over the three bolts we installed earlier, then screwing on wing nuts.

Finally, I reattach the water line, turn on the valve and -- it sounds great. And best of all, no more leak.

Learn how to repair a toilet; watch a video of basic troubleshooting advice and demonstration of how to make simple repairs to a leaky toilet.

Water can be difficult to live with. It sometimes runs when you don't want it to, and then it won't run right when you do want it to. Ron was having difficulty with running water in his own toilet and invited us in to see his repair.