October Home Maintenance To-Do List
By: Danny Lipford
To-Do #2: Check Toilets for Leaks
A constantly running toilet can waste thousands of gallons a water a year and drive up your utility bills. Check your toilets regularly, and replace any parts that are no longer functioning as they should. Most toilet repair jobs are fairly easy to do yourself.
To check and repair a toilet:
- Adjust Water Level in Tank: If your toilet runs when it hasn’t been flushed, remove the lid and check the water level inside the tank. If it’s set too high, the water will spill into the overflow tube and cause the intake valve to keep running. To adjust the water level, turn the adjustment screw located either on top or at the base of the water intake mechanism in the tank. Set the water level so it stops filling 1/4″ or more below the top of the overflow tube. Many intake valves are marked with a recommended water level for maximum effectiveness with minimum waste.
- Replace Flapper: Put a few drops of food coloring in the water in your toilet tank, and allow it to remain without flushing for a time. If the water in the toilet bowl changes color without being flushed, the rubber flapper valve at the bottom of the tank needs to be replaced. These are easy to replace by shutting off the water to the toilet, flushing the tank to empty it, and replacing the old flapper with a new one.
- Replace Flushing Mechanism: If the above fixes don’t work, it may be time to replace the entire flushing mechanism. Look for a packaged replacement kit, so you’ll have all the parts as well as installation instructions. Turn the water off at the shut-off valve and flush to empty the tank before removing and replacing the water intake tank mechanism.
- Fix Toilet Floor Leak: If your toilet is leaking at the floor when flushed, first try gently tightening the bolts that hold the bowl to the floor. Be careful not to over tighten – you don’t want to crack the ceramic bowl! If this doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to remove the toilet and replace the wax ring around the drain pipe. Check out our article on How To Remove and Replace a Toilet for more info.
- Fix Toilet Tank to Bowl Leak: Toilets can also leak between the tank and bowl when the toilet is flushed. To fix, turn off the water, drain the tank, remove the bolts in the bottom of the tank that attach the tank to the bowl, and replace the rubber gasket between the tank and bowl, as well as the bolts and gaskets which hold the tank and bowl together.
Watch our video on How to Repair a Toilet to find out more.