Did you know that plumbers have to stock tools and supplies on their truck? This is so that when they show up at your home, they are entirely ready to work. That is why it costs so much for a plumber to come to your home.  So, anything that you can do yourself to prevent that house call saves you money and allows your plumber to deal with issues that require his or her expertise. Toilet repairs that you can do yourself can save you money and might save you time because you are not waiting at home for the plumber to show up at your house.  Today, we will discuss two small things that you can do that do not take much skill and are safe for most homeowners to do themselves.

How do I Adjust my Toilet Fill Valve?

 The water fills in the toilet tank and won’t stop until you pull up on the fill valve or jiggle the float.  When your toilet is “running” and using water unnecessarily, you need to know how to stop it.  Can the fill valve be adjusted, instead of buying and installing a new one?

If you have a “floatless” type fill valve, to adjust the fill valve, you simply turn an adjustment screw located on the top of the valve.  To raise the water level, turn the adjustment screw in a clockwise direction.  To lower the water level, turn the screw in a counter-clockwise direction.

  • If you have a float cup type fill valve, you can try cleaning it by removing the cap on top and washing the rubber gasket.  To do that, first turn the water off (clockwise) at the shut-off valve, typically located underneath the toilet tank.
  • Flush the toilet.
  • Lift the short lever (on the fill valve) up and turn it about 1/4 of an inch counterclockwise.  The top cap should pop off.
  • Remove the rubber gasket and wash.  Note how the gasket is inserted on the pin.
  • Before you replace the top cap turn the water back on just a little to clear any debris in the fill valve.
  • Now replace the gasket exactly the way it came out.
  • Reinstall the cap opposite the way it came off, holding the lever up and turning clockwise.
  • Once it is secure, slowly turn the water back on.

Replacing Vs Washing

If this does not help, you can try replacing just the gasket vs. washing it.  They cost just a few dollars at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

If the above does not solve the problem, replacing the whole valve is not difficult, and should solve the problem immediately.  You can try this yourself or call Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating and Air for help.

How do I replace my toilet flapper?

  1. First, turn off the water to the toilet by closing (turning clockwise) the shut-off valve usually located underneath the toilet tank.
  2. Drain the toilet tank simply by flushing the toilet after the water is turned off.
  3. Sponge out any remaining water from the bottom of the tank if you want, but this is not strictly necessary.
  4. Disconnect the small chain attached to the top of the flapper from the handle arm running from the toilet handle.  There is usually a small clip fitting at the top of the chain that is simply unclipped from the flush arm.
  5. Next, disconnect the side ears on the flapper off the pegs extending from the sides of the flush valve tube.  On flappers made of hard plastic, these ears will snap loose; on flappers made of soft rubber, it’s a matter of sliding the ears off the pegs.

The most common toilet configuration has the flapper attached to the pegs on the sides of the flush valve tube.  If this is how your toilet is built, you will need to cut off the ring on the back of the new flapper; it won’t be needed.

Using the Ring

If your flush valve tube doesn’t have the side pegs for the flapper, you will need to use the ring to slide the flapper into place over the overflow tube.

  1. Put the new flapper into place. And hook each ear of the flapper onto the pegs on the flush valve tube.
  2. Connect the flapper chain onto the toilet handle rod.  Make any necessary adjustments to the chain.  It needs to be long enough to allow the flapper to sit firmly in place. But not so long that it gets caught under the flapper as the water rushes out.  It can take some testing to get the length of the chain exactly right.
  3. Turn the water back on and test by flushing several times.

If You Need Some Help

We hope this helps you with your do it yourself job.  If you find you would rather let us do it, or if you find that you have more things wrong than you thought you did (and that happens frequently). Please give your favorite Pittsburgh plumbers a call 1-888-461-2198. Let us help you out.

Image credit – Adobe Stock

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At Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we are here to help you and are happy to process your scheduling request by email if that is your preference. Please indicate what service area you require in your request, and we will get back to you within one business day of receiving it.

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