The Toilet Won't Flush At AllCheck the handle, lift arm, chain, flapper valve and the connections between each one of the parts to make sure all are functioning. The handle may be too loose or tight; the lift arm may be bent or broken; the connection between the lift arm and lift chain may be broken or out of adjustment so it doesn't raise the flapper valve far enough.
The Toilet Won't Flush CompletelyYou may need to remove excess slack in the lift chain.
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The Toilet Is Clogged or OverflowsYou need a plunger.
Place the cup of the plunger over the drain opening and force the handle up and down rapidly. By doing so, you should produce enough suction to loosen the clog. When you believe you have removed the clog, slowly pour water into the bowl to flush debris.
If a plunger doesn't work, you'll need a closet auger or "snake" designed especially for this task. You'll need to insert the auger into the drain. When you hit the blockage, try to thread the auger through the clog. After snagging the source of the clog, continue to twist the auger as you pull it from the trap.
If the toilet overflows each time you use it, an object (such as a pen or a toy) may be lodged in the passageway that lets water pass. To remove a solid object, use the plumber's auger.
If more than one toilet or drain in your home is backing up, the line is likely blocked downstream from the point where the waste lines come together. Long augers are available for these situations, as are long metal tapes with pointed heads. (Both styles are commonly called "snakes.") These tapes are inserted into the drain line, pushed through the clog and then pulled/pushed back and forth to dislodge the clog. If your main drain line contains no clean-out access, these long snakes may need to be inserted directly through the toilet flange. This requires the temporary removal of the toilet.
The Toilet Won't Stop RunningHere are some things to try if your toilet won't stop running:
- Start by jiggling the toilet handle. If the running stops, you need to either adjust the lift chain attachment or the handle.
- If that doesn't work, remove the tank cover and check to see if the float ball is touching the side of the tank. If it is, bend the arm to reposition it away from the edge of the tank.
- Lift the float rod above the water level. If the water stops running, gently bend the rod down until the float is at rest when the water level is about one half inch below the top of the overflow pipe.
- Check to see if your float ball is leaking. If more than half of the float is underwater, it may have a leak. Turn off the shutoff valve below the tank and flush the toilet to empty it. Unscrew the float and shake it. If you hear water inside, replace it.
- Sometimes the flapper valve becomes worn or distorted and doesn't seal the tank. This problem is easy to fix. Just empty the tank, remove the flapper, and replace it with a new one.
- If the flapper valve seat is pitted or cracked, the whole unit can be replaced. Kits are available for this purpose, but they usually require that the tank be removed from the bowl. For this repair, follow the directions included with the flapper valve/seat replacement kit.
- If the toilet still runs, empty the tank again and remove the screws that hold the float rod and its attached linkage to the intake valve. Pull the intake valve plunger up and out of the plunger seat. You may need to pry it gently with a screwdriver to get it started. Replace the washer at the base of the plunger and the washer or packing that fits in a groove on the plunger body. As an alternative, entire ballcock assemblies are available in economical replacement kits. They come completely assembled and need only to be installed in the tank. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
There's Water on the Floor Around the ToiletIf you have water on the floor around your toilet, you need to fix the problem right away so moisture doesn't damage your subfloor.
Start by checking all connections—the tank bolts, the ballcock mounting nut and supply tube coupling nut. Is everything tight? If so, you may need to replace the washers.
If moisture is dripping from the tank during humid weather, that's probably just condensation. You can fix this problem by installing a toilet liner kit—a foam panel placed inside the tank. To install a liner, you will need to cut off the water, drain and clean the inside of the tank. Cut the panels to fit your toilet and attach to the tank.
Is the toilet tank cracked? If so, you need to buy a new tank. In fact, unless your toilet is fairly new and direct replacement bowls are readily available, consider getting a whole new toilet. This will eliminate the potential problems associated with trying to find a tank that matches the old bowl.
Water around the base of a toilet could be caused by a wax ring that no longer seals or by a cracked toilet base. If the toilet leaks constantly, the toilet base is cracked and must be replaced. If leaking occurs during or after a flush, replace the wax ring.
I Hear Splashing Water in the TankAdjust the refill line that runs into the overflow tube in the tank. You may need to replace the washers in the inlet valve.
My Toilet is NoisyReplace the ballcock. It's easier than it may sound. Replacement ballcocks are reasonably priced and can be installed simply by following the manufacturer's instructions.
Source: Lowe's Home Safety Council founded by Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. (Used with permission)