– Ben Martens

Toilet Repair

When the inspector went through this house, he noted that all of the toilets had very old gaskets that should be replaced. It wasn’t something we asked the homeowners to fix so I’ve been going through and getting them changed out. I’m far from an expert, but since I had a few issues that were solved by the Internet, I thought I’d give back some of the things I learned.

  • Home Depot sells a bunch of products by Fluidmaster. They have mixed reviews about their longevity, but it’s what I’ve been going with. I recommend the model that has two chains. In addition to the normal one, another runs to the float. When you flush, it unlocks the float and lets it drop. This way if you somehow do have a leak, your toilet won’t run until you flush it the next time.
  • Some of the Fluidmaster kits also include a nifty pinch valve that fits on to the bowl refill line. You can adjust how much water goes back into the bowl after a flush. I have one toilet that doesn’t need any extra water after a flush so all of that water was being wasted.
  • If you’re going to take the tank off as part of your repair, just replace everything including the main gasket between the tank and the bowl. It hardly costs any extra money and then you’ll be good to go for many more years.
  • Can’t get those rusty tank bolts off? Take the blade off your hack saw, slip it between the tank and the bowl and saw that bolt off. It’s way easier than trying to use WD40 or something to loosen it up.
  • Don’t put your tools away when you’re done. Leave them there for a couple hours and then check for leaks. If you’re like me, you’ll need to give the tank bolts a little more of a turn. I’m always afraid of tightening them too much and cracking the porcelain.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The first toilet went smoothly, but the second one was a pain. In retrospect, replacing the filler valve to be the kind that doesn’t run until you flush again was fine, but I should have left the tank bolts and main flush valve alone. It took me days to get past all the leaks and I’m still not convinced that I’m done.
  • Don’t invite your wife in to see what the guts of a toilet looks like. She won’t be amused. Ha!