Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toilet Won't Stop Running

During a recent visit to one of my customer's homes I was asked to help fix a toilet that would not stop running.  Upon investigation I found that about every minute or so the tank valve would come on and fill the tank with a small amount of water.  This ususally means that the flapper valve is leaking and is a simple fix.  Upon further investigation I saw that the gasket under the flapper assembly was deteriorating and was allowing water to leak into the tank.

Since the toilet was only 4 years old and these gaskets are supposed to last many years I did some investigation and found that recent research has shown that many common toilet cleaning products can damage the rubber flapper causing significant leakage. Dropping certain toilet bowl cleaners (usually in the form of large white tablets) into your toilet tank may result in damage to the parts within the tank, especially if you do not flush your toilet at least once a day. Some manufacturers may even void the warranty on those parts. If you chose to use these cleaners, the toilet must be flushed at least once per day. As an alternative, use the in-bowl toilet cleaner rather than the in-tank cleaners.

Since the prior owner did not know about this issue, I had to change the entire gasket and flapper assembly.  This assembly on cost about $5 - $10 at Home Depot or Lowe's.

If the toilet is conventional, the process of changing the gaskets is as follows:

1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet.
2. Flush the toilet to get as much water out of the tank.
3. With some old rags, sop up all the water left in the tank.
4. Loosen and remove two nuts and washers on the two bolts which secure the tank to the bowl.
5. Carefully lift the tank off off the bowl, and set it upside down on the floor.
6. Remove the old gasket from wherever it's stuck, and clean all fragment from the contact areas on both the bowl and bottom of the tank.
7. Unscrew the large nut that holds the flapper assembly onto the tank.
8. Remove the old gasket between the flapper assembly and the tank.
9. Install the new gasket on the flapper assembly.
10. Install the flapper assembly back into the tank by screwing the nub back onto the flapper assembly and tightening it (do not over tighten).
11. Install the new gasket onto the bowl float screw.
12. Remove the bolts and old washers from the tank, and clean the mating surface.
13. Install new washers on the bolts [they go inside the tank, under the bolt heads]
14. Carefully set the tank atop the bowl, being very careful to get perfect alignment on the first try.
15. Reinstall the two bolts with new washers.
16. By hand very carefully reinstall the nuts and washers on the bolts, running them all the way up by hand. 17. With a wrench, very carefully final tighten the nuts, but not too tight as it is very easy to overload the china bowl or tank, resulting in breaking one or both, ruining the entire toilet assembly. The nuts don't have to be extremely tight just up snug so as to just slightly begin to compress the washers.

If all else fails just call a professional or One Call Home Handyman and we will help in any way we can.
If you have any questions please email us at sales@onecallhomehandyman.com or go to our site at http://www.onecallhomehandyman.com/