The Sound of $$ Trickling Down the Drain OR Fixing Your Leaky Toilet.

You have been ignoring that little trickle sound from the tank of your toilet for a while now. You try wiggling the handle and that works, or not. Maybe you lift up the tank lid and mess with the filler tube after flushing each time but you are finally over it. That sound of water slowly running is the sound of $$ going down the drain and that gets annoying! This is truly a 15 minute (ok, maybe a bit longer) fix which will be very gratifying. Also, this is a fix that you can do WHILE you drink a beer. No power tools or ladders. Just make sure you turn the water off. If you forget this step and flood the bathroom, your drinking privileges are OVER!

Now, first step is one you probably wouldn’t think about. Clean your toilet! You are about to get intimate with and appliance that gets some funky use. I know it is you who does your bidness here but trust me, you will appreciate some clean porcelain. Anyway, it makes you look good. “Look Sweety, I fixed the toilet AND cleaned it!” (Assume appropriate stance with fists on hips and chest out)

Here we go. First of all, it is impossible to cover everything that you will need to do but I aim to give you courage and get you started with the basics. Now, turn the water off. The rule of thumb is “Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey”. So tighten the shut-off down and flush the toilet. Hold the handle down to allow as much of the water to flush as possible. You shouldn’t hear any water running to fill the tank up. If you do, your shut-off is bad and that’s a whole other can o’ worms. This is a good time to get acquainted with your main water shut-off but that is another post.

Water shut-off behind the toilet.

Now, before you really get started, here are the things you will need. A crescent wrench, big sponge, paper towels are always good to have on hand and a toilet parts replacement kit. I determined that I needed the flush tube AND the flapper so I bought the whole kit. If you just need the flush tube go for the FluidMaster 400-A. No, I am not sponsored by them but I am familiar with that model and brand and it works well. (Wouldn’t my Mom be so proud though if I was sponsored by a manufacturer of toilet parts 😉 A beer company would be good! I have to start mentioning what beer I drink while I work.) If you determine it is the flapper, they sell just those as well at the big box home improvement stores.

Big sponge I typically use for cleaning grout off tile.

Crescent wrench

 

Toilet tank repair kit.

The float connected to the bad flush tube assembly.

Flapper.

You have the water off and as much of the water out as possible. Grab the sponge and do work! Squeeze out the sponge into the bowl and keep sopping up the water in the tank till it is dry. It is time to start disconnecting things, how exciting! The next pic is where you will be disconnecting things. You will disconnect the water supply line and then loosen the nut above it which holds the flush tube in place. There will be a skosh of water left in the flush tube assembly so don’t freak! Just wipe things up with the paper towels that you should have on hand.

Water supply line and nut that holds the flush tube assembly on.

Water supply tube disconnected and nut for flush tube almost off.

Take out anything that needs replaced and throw it away, just do it! You have to commit. Dump out the box of stuff and take a look. There will be this weird paper all folded up with words in at least a couple languages. It will look like this.

Some strange thing called "directions"?!?!

These are called “directions”. Personally I usually read these only AFTER things don’t seem to work/make sense. This, however, is a case of do what I say and not what I do. Read these! This is a great time to take a drink of that beer (I prefer a nice IPA) and possibly even get a refill 😉 This kit will contain EVERYTHING for the tank and you may not need everything. I keep extra stuff and parts in a plumbing supply/tool bag for another time. There are usually bolts that connect the tank to the toilet, a spud gasket for that connection as well, a new flush handle, etc. Anywho, pick the stuff you need and put the other stuff to the side.

All the contents of the kit.

The stuff I am using.

Go ahead and hook up what you need. When you tighten things up, it should be just what you can do with your hand since most of the parts are plastic. DO NOT overtighten with your crescent wrench, tighter is not necessarily better. Also, you do not need teflon tape for plastic threads and rubber inner gaskets. Save that tape for metal threads. I am glossing over lots of steps but I am assuming that you will read the directions/ I know, assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME as the saying goes but I can’t tell you everything (well I could but you would have to have me over and buy me some beer and pizza as payment as I walked you through it). My goal is really just to instill you with enough confidence to get going and enough info to be dangerous.

The "guts" of my toilet have been replaced.

The last ting I will say is trim your rubber water supply tube to a shorter length instead of just sticking it down the tube (you will understand this when you have completed this task). If not, water can siphon back up the tube and it will slightly empty then fill, empty and then fill, etc.

I really hope this will get you started. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment.

Thanks for your time,

Travis “That Home Inspector Guy” Moyer

About Travis "That Home Inspector Guy" Moyer

I am a certified home inspector, rehabber, landlord, carpenter, handyman and generally inquisitive person who wants to know how everything works. I love to educate other DIY homeowners and potential homeowners about projects that they may be interested in.

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