How Do You Fix A Toilet Flushing Mechanism?

How Do You Fix A Toilet Flushing Mechanism?

As a homeowner, there are plenty of small DIY maintenance tasks you’ll need to tackle occasionally. Of these, one that may crop up every once in a while is fixing the flushing mechanism of a toilet. It’s a task that’s typically easy to complete, provided you know what you’re doing. To help you, here is a complete guide to fixing your toilet’s flushing mechanism. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from identifying the problem to choosing the right solution.

Diagnosing Your Toilet’s Flushing Problem

The first thing you’ll need to do before you can fix your toilet’s flushing mechanism is to pinpoint its problem. There are a variety of symptoms that all point to different issues inside your toilet. They include the following.

Ghost Flushing

Ghost flushing is the common term for when your toilet seems to flush on its own when nobody’s using it. It can happen quite infrequently or intermittently between uses. When this happens, it is an indication that the toilet’s tank is losing water down its drain. In almost all cases, this is an indication that something’s wrong with the toilet’s flapper.

Constant Refilling

When working properly, your toilet should refill its tank after each flush and then turn off its water supply. So, if you hear your toilet running constantly when it shouldn’t, its fill valve is a likely culprit. This is the most complex part of your toilet’s flushing mechanism. As a result, there are a variety of issues with a fill valve that may cause it to run constantly. For example, the fill valve could be getting stuck in the open position. Or the float that tells the valve when to turn off isn’t in the right position.

Flush Too Strong or Weak

Another common toilet flushing issue is when your toilet flush is either too strong or too weak. This is a function of how much water your toilet stores in its tank for each flush. If the water level is too high, you could be wasting water with each flush. Too low, and it may not create enough force to properly flush your toilet.

Repairing Flapper Issues

By far, the easiest part of your toilet’s flushing mechanism to fix is the flapper. It is typically made of rubber and covers the drain at the bottom of your toilet tank. When your toilet experiences ghost flushing or similar issues, the flapper could be the root cause. It means that the flapper isn’t making a tight seal against the drain opening, allowing water to leak out.

In many cases, simply cleaning your toilet’s flapper will resolve any problems you’re experiencing with it. Everything from sediment buildup to calcium deposits from hard water can cause a toilet flapper failure. So, before rushing out to buy a new one, always try a thorough cleaning first.

You can begin by turning off your toilet’s water supply using the shutoff valve located near the toilet base. Then, flush the toilet to let its stored water out of the tank. When the flush completes, you can then remove the tank’s lid to get at the flushing mechanism.

You’ll find the flapper at the bottom of its tank, located roughly in the tank’s center. Most toilet flappers appear nearly flat but have a rounded bottom that sits in the drain opening. In most cases, the flapper attaches to the toilet’s overflow tube with pressure-fitting clips. To remove the flapper, first unclip the chain that runs from it to the toilet’s flush rod. Then, you can pull the flapper off its hinge using a tiny bit of force.

Try cleaning the flapper with soap and water. You can use a diluted descaling solution if the flapper has hard water buildup. Once clean, reattach the flapper and its chain, and then turn the toilet’s water supply back on. Wait a few hours to see if the ghost flushing stops. If it doesn’t, you can purchase a replacement flapper and install it to solve your issue.

Repairing Your Toilet’s Fill Valve

If your toilet runs constantly and never stops, you will need to inspect its fill valve. To do this, remove the toilet tank’s lid. Next, look at the top of the toilet’s fill valve. If you notice any water flowing out from there, you likely have a damaged fill valve seal. To fix this issue, purchase a new fill valve seal from the valve’s manufacturer. To install it, turn off the toilet’s water supply and remove the fill valve’s cap. Then, you must rotate the valve arm to remove it from the valve. From there, you can swap the valve seal with the new one and reassemble the valve.

If your fill valve isn’t leaking from its top, you should put some gentle upward pressure on the valve arm. If the water stops, there’s a good chance your toilet float is in the wrong position. Its job is to close the valve when the water level reaches the right spot. If the float’s too high, it may never reach the off position. If your toilet has a ball float, you can bend its rod down slightly to solve the problem. If it’s a float cup, there will be a small screw at its top that allows for position adjustment.

If your toilet fill valve still isn’t working properly, you can replace it. To do that, purchase a new, compatible toilet fill valve. Then, turn off your toilet’s water supply and flush it. Since there will still be water left in the tank bottom, bail it out with a cup and soak up the rest with a towel. Next, use a wrench to remove the water supply line from the bottom of the fill valve. That will let you loosen the valve’s lower nut and remove it. To install the replacement, it’s the same steps, but in reverse.

Altering Your Toilet’s Fill Level

If you’re having a problem with your toilet’s flush strength, you will need to change its tank fill level. One way to do this is by altering the float height using the earlier instructions. This changes when the fill valve closes and controls the stored water level. If you lower the float, you will lower the fill level, and vice versa.

If you can’t adjust the float enough to get the fill level you want, you may need to adjust the fill valve itself. Some newer fill valves allow you to alter their height, which changes the float’s operating range. If the lower part of your fill valve looks threaded, you have an adjustable fill valve. To adjust it, remove the valve, turn its upper portion to change the height, and reinstall it. If your fill valve isn’t adjustable, you can always replace it with one that is.

Your Toilet Maintenance Experts

If you’re having trouble with a toilet in your San Antonio, TX, home, Rosenberg Plumbing & Air can help. You can call one of our expert plumbers to come and solve the problem for you. That’s not all. We also offer comprehensive plumbing and HVAC services, too. And, we handle commercial HVAC and refrigeration services, ductwork, and indoor air quality. We’re the only home services company you’ll ever need. Plus, we’re a Nextdoor Neighborhood Fave and have over 10,000 positive reviews from our happy customers.

So, if you need help fixing a toilet flushing mechanism in your San Antonio home, call Rosenberg Plumbing & Air today!

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