How to Fix a Toilet

How to Fix a Toilet

Plumbing can no doubt be a dirty job, but as a homeowner maintaining your plumbing is vital to your home. Sometimes as homeowners, if we don’t have a home warranty coverage, we have to get our hands dirty. One of the most vital parts of a home is the bathroom, and in the bathroom, the toilet. When a toilet isn’t working properly it can cause a huge mess and making sure that it functions properly is something you just have to handle when it comes up.

Reasons to Replace the Interior Flushing Apparatus in Your Toilet

  1. If the flapper is damaged or warped the toilet won’t flush properly and or won’t seal shut when it should. It will stop filling the toilet bowl with water and the flapper will need to be replaced.
  2. If the overflow tube is cracked, the tank won’t be able to fill with water properly. If there isn’t enough water in the tank, it won’t have enough water pressure to flush everything down the drain and you will need to replace the overflow tube.
  3. If the toilet isn’t flushing all the way it could be one or multiple issues above and you should consider replacing the interior flushing apparatus in your toilet.


Doing this yourself may seem like a daunting task, but it can be a lot easier than you think. Just follow some simple instructions and have a little confidence in yourself! The parts to replace the inside flushing apparatus is pretty inexpensive and can be found at just about any local hardware store for less than twenty bucks.

DIY Step by Step Instructions

Step by step - how to fix a toilet yourselfBefore you get started on the project you should always make sure you have all the tools you are going to need to install the new toilet parts: screwdriver, small wrench, flashlight, adjustable wrench, bucket, sponge, and replacement parts for the repair.

  • Plumbing 101 before you start working on any plumbing be sure to turn off the water source. You can turn off the water to your toilet by turning valve on wall, usually behind the toilet clockwise to shut off the water. When the knob won’t turn anymore your water has been shut off.
  • There is a lot of water in the toilet tank right now and you need to drain water from tank. You will drain all the water by holding the flush handle down while all the water drains out.
  • Next you will need to unhook the flush handle from the chain.
  • You need to remove the flush handle from the front of the toilet and you do that you need to unscrew the handle and handle arm from toilet then remove.
  • There still might be some water in the bottom of the tank and to avoid spilling it all over your bathroom floor use a sponge to soak up any extra water so you don’t have to clean up a mess later. You can squeeze out the excess water from the sponge into the available bucket, your bathroom sink or shower/tub.
  • To start removing the interior parts of the toilet you need to unscrew the collar at the bottom of the toilet that is connected to the water valve you recently turned off.
  • This will unhook the fill valve and then it can be removed and thrown away.
  • Now we want to unhook the toilet tank from the toilet seat base, there are two nuts that need to be loosened from two nuts holding the toilet tank in place, these are found underneath the tank.
  • Once the nuts are removed you can carefully pick up the toilet tank and set it on its side on top of the toilet seat.a man fixing the toilet tank
  • Next you must remove the collar on the bottom of the tank to be able to remove the flapper, flush valve, overflow tube and float, these parts are being replaced and can be thrown away.
  • The water saver, if you have one, can be reused even if other parts of the toilet are not working. Remove water saver from the rest of the parts and set aside to be reinstalled later.
  • Unscrew the collar from the new flush valve apparatus.
  • Insert the new flush valve apparatus into water saver and put threaded edge through the hole into the bottom of the toilet tank, and then attach the collar make sure it is snug but don’t over tighten so the collar doesn’t crack from the weight of the toilet tank once it has been reinstalled.
  • Now you need to reinstall the toilet tank to the toilet seat base by lining up the two long screws on the bottom of the tank base and attaching the nuts back on, hand tightening should be sufficient instead of using a wrench to tighten them.
  • Insert the new fill valve and line up with the existing hole in the toilet to reattach the water hose that was removed earlier, reattach using existing nut on the bottom of the toilet.
  • Insert new flapper and attach it to the new flush valve, it should rest nicely over the existing hole
  • Attach the new hose from fill valve to over flow tube.
  • You need to reattach flush handle and handle arm. You do this by reinserting the flush handle and attaching the handle arm and tightening the nut on handle. After you have attached the handle and handle arm you can then attach the flush chain to the flush handle arm.
  • Make sure when you press on the handle the flapper goes up and down like it is supposed to and it falls back into place over the hole in the tank.
  • You should be ready to turn back on the water. You turn the water back on by turning the water valve on the wall counter clockwise.
  • Now the important part! Look for leaks!! If you don’t have any leaks great job!
  • If you have a leak you may need to tighten a nut or readjust a valve on the inside. Before trying to adjust any parts on the inside of the tank, you will need to remove all the water again, or you will have a giant mess!

Going Pro

Replacement costs for toilets can be anywhere from $100-350 for the whole toilet and professional installation can be between $125-260, and that is if they do not encounter any problems during the installation. This costs also does not include parts, so you will need to buy the parts anyway or chance them bringing parts and charging a premium on the parts for supplying them for the job. So, if you have an ounce of confidence try this simple fix yourself and save a couple hundred dollars!

1 thought on “How to Fix a Toilet”

  1. Thank you for the article. Many people get scared when they see or hear the word plumbing. It’s really not that hard, just shut off the water to your home. That way if something does happen, you aren’t going to flood out your home like you see on youtube. And if you ever have any questions about pipe fittings or different kinds of pipes you can use, you can always take a picture of whatever it is you need to replace, and go to home depot. Most of the sales people there would help you out and point you in the right direction.

    It’s either do it all yourself, or you could call a handyman to fix the issue. Normally they are cheaper than a full blown plumber, but they are just as good…. Well, it depends on which one you get. Make sure you get one that is licensed,bonded and insured. Always make sure they are insured. Because if they aren’t, and they mess up your home, chances are they won’t be able to cover the damages.

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