Sooner or later, most homeowners will have to deal with toilet repair. Fortunately, many common problems are easily solved and don’t require the services of a plumber. Armed with a few simple do-it-yourself pointers, homeowners can handle most common toilet repair problems without the expense of hiring a professional. The best tips for toilet repair include the fact that using a plunger can unclog the toilet most of the time and that many problems with the toilet's water flow can be solved by adjusting the ballcock.
Clogging is undoubtedly the most common toilet repair problem. A plunger usually is sufficient to clear most clogged toilets. One must ensure that the cup of the plunger is covering the toilet drain, and push down forcefully. Most often, a few vigorous plunges will free the clog and allow the toilet to empty.
It is important that there is enough water in the bowl before a plunger is used. Water must cover the suction cup to provide a good seal. To add water, it should be poured in from a bucket or other container instead of by flushing. Flushing the toilet could cause an overflow and only add to the problems already present.
Seat replacement is another simple toilet repair. The nuts holding the old seat in place can be removed so that the seat can be lifted up. If the nuts are corroded and won’t move, a little penetrating oil might be needed lubricate them. After the old seat is out of the way, the porcelain can be wiped clean before the new seat is bolted into place. The seat must be secure, but care should be taken to ensure that the nuts are not overtightened.
One common toilet repair problem is that the toilet that won’t stop flushing. Often, this is because of a problem with the ballcock, the arm with a ball at the end that extends inside the tank. This device shuts off water from the refill valve when the tank is full. If lifting the arm shuts off the water, adjusting the ballcock will fix the problem.
Ballcock arms are threaded like screws, making the ballcock adjustable. When the ball is turned counterclockwise, the ball will sit lower in the tank, which will close the shutoff valve sooner. If this doesn’t do the job, the ball can be removed entirely to check for water inside of it. Trapped water will make the ball less effective as a float, and emptying it might solve the problem. A leaking float might require replacement, but these are available in any hardware store.
If these steps are not effective, bending the arm of the ballcock might solve the problem. Gently bending the arm downward will push the float deeper into the tank. Less water will then be required to shut off the refill valve.