Troubleshoot Your Toilet Without a PlumberOverflowing, constantly running and sweating toilets can test a home owner's sanity. Sometimes you'll have to go with a pro, but here are seven common problems you can fix yourself. Excerpted from the Popular Mechanics book When Duct Tape Just Isn't Enough, published by Hearst Books/Sterling Publishing. Check out previous excerpts here.
Published on: March 31, 2009
THE QUICK FIX
A poorly flushing standard toilet can be caused by a number of different problems. Lift the tank cover, and first check the chain that runs from the flapper cap to the flush handle; if it is too long, the handle won’t lift the flapper cap sufficiently. Shorten the chain length by hooking into another link of the chain. Next, look at the water level in the tank—the amount of water affects how strong the flush will be. If the tank is not filling all the way (there should be a fill line on the inside of the tank), carefully bend the bulb of the float valve up a bit and see if the tank will fill. If it does not, check the toilet bowl rim holes (through which the water enters the bowl) with a small mirror, and if they are blocked, clean them with a small nail and acid-based porcelain cleaner. If none of the above does the trick, you may have a misadjusted or faulty fill valve that needs replacement