Attempting DIY toilet repair may not be on your list of favorite things to do. A toilet is a fixture you rely on often. So, the prospect of fixing it without a plumber is, in that regard, a good one. We’ll provide some tips on repairing common toilet problems and reasons to consider calling an emergency plumber for toilet repair in Boise, ID.

How a Toilet Works

A toilet has a lot of moving parts compared to the average fixture. It consists of a bowl and a tank and usually works via gravity and a siphoning effect. A seal, or flapper, allows water to drain from the tank to the bowl. Flushing the toilet causes water to drain out of the bowl and toward the sewer line.

The flapper valve closes to allow the tank to refill. It is controlled by an external handle. A float in the flush mechanism rises with the water level and, when the tank is full, it shuts off the water flow. A toilet also contains a seat, a drain trap that keeps water in the bowl until flushed, and a wax seal at the base.

Is DIY Toilet Repair Possible?

Whether you can fix a toilet on your own depends on the problem. Many issues don’t require complex tools or procedures. Therefore, here are some things you can fix:

Clogged Toilet

When you have a sluggish flush, a toilet can often be plunged to dislodge a blockage. A partial clog is easier to resolve; the toilet will drain very slowly. If it’s completely clogged, the water level will fill to near the top; flushing again will cause water to overflow from the toilet.

In either case, place the head of the plunger into the water and over the toilet drain opening. Then, push the plunger in and out until the clog is released. This can take a few tries, but you’ll know it works when water starts to drain and you hear the toilet flush.

Running Toilet

No one likes having a running toilet. It’s a distraction, and a leaking toilet also wastes as much as 200 gallons of water per day. You can attempt a DIY toilet repair if there isn’t much damage. In some cases, jiggling the handle can shift the flapper back into place so the toilet stops running. Or, check the lift chain between the handle and the flapper. Adjust it if it’s kinked or stuck. 

A dirty flapper won’t form a tight seal. It can be unhooked from the overflow tube and soaked in vinegar to remove dirt and mineral buildup. However, the rubber seal can also deteriorate, causing water to keep running into the bowl. The part is also simple and inexpensive to replace. Just hook a new flapper onto the tube. 

Adjusting the float mechanism can stop a toilet from running as well. A float ball may have an adjustment screw to lower the shutoff point. Or, the float arm may need to be lowered or you may have to slide down a float cup.

Loose Handle

If the handle wiggles but doesn’t flush, open the tank to determine why. The chain may be detached if the handle has no resistance; reattach the chain to get the flush mechanism to work again. If the chain is attached but the handle is loose, tighten the handle’s mounting nut by turning it counter-clockwise with your fingers or a wrench.

Loose Seat

Adjusting a loose toilet seat is simple. To secure it, center the seat on the bowl and tighten the screws by turning them clockwise with a correct-size screwdriver. You may have to remove a plastic cover to access the screw heads. If the screws don’t tighten easily, grip the bolt below with a small wrench or a pair of pliers.

Water Pools Around the Base of the Toilet

If there’s water around the base, you have a leaking toilet with a bad wax ring. To see if this is the problem, put some food coloring in the bowl and flush. If you see colored water around the base, the wax ring must be replaced. It can be purchased at a hardware or plumbing store for just a few dollars. But. replacing it requires lifting the entire toilet, which can weigh up to 125 pounds. Unless you’re familiar with this repair and have someone to help, it’s best to call a plumber.

The Toilet Flushes Partially Before the Tank Starts Filling

A toilet may start to flush and then stop. If this happens, check whether the chain is loose. Fortunately, it can be adjusted. Link the chain higher on the lift bar to remove some slack. 

If the water level is lower than ½ inch from the top of the overflow valve, adjust the valve to raise the water level and get more water per flush. To adjust the fill valve (located above the water supply tube), reset the screw near the top; moving it one way or another will adjust the water level.

Why Hire a Professional for Toilet Repair

While toilet repair is often a DIY task, there are many reasons to consider hiring a plumber:

  • Immediate help during an emergency, day or night.
  • Knowledge of and experience with all types of issues.
  • The right tools/equipment to diagnose and fix the problem.
  • They can fix most issues quickly.
  • A technician can avoid costly mistakes.
  • Professionals follow all safety guidelines.
  • The job is covered by insurance if something goes wrong.

Call Express Plumbing Heating & Air

We provide high-quality professional toilet repair in Boise, ID. Our plumbing technicians are properly licensed; they are also fully trained in our training center to fix any problem, big or small. For expert toilet repair in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley, call 208-502-2212 today.

Brad Jordan

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