Fix a Leaky Toilet

With a screwdriver and this step-by-step know-how, you can save water at home by fixing one of the most common toilet problems: an unbalanced water level in the water tank.

| April 30, 2010

  • Toilet diagram
    The level of water in the toilet tank should be a half an inch or less below the overflow tube.
  • If I Had a Hammer
    “If I Had a Hammer” has more than 100 home improvement projects that are friendly on the environment and your wallet. Author Andrea Ridout offers easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations designed to make DIY simpler than ever.
  • Leaking toilet repair
    The toilet is the most common household water waster. A badly leaking toilet can waste nearly 80,000 gallons of water a year.

  • Toilet diagram
  • If I Had a Hammer
  • Leaking toilet repair

The following is an excerpt from If I Had a Hammer by Andrea Ridout (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008). No matter your DIY needs and no matter whether you’re a DIY novice or expert, home improvement guru Andrea Ridout has ideas, advice and expertise to share with you in her book. This excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Beautiful Bathroom Boosts.” 

Of all the plumbing repairs around the house, fixing the commode is the one that typically gets done most quickly. If you’re like me, you’ll agree that having a quiet, nonleaking commode is important enough to learn how to take care of problems when they first rear their ugly heads.

The toilet is the most common household water waster. A badly leaking toilet can waste nearly 80,000 gallons of water a year. While repairing a leaky toilet is a major water conservation project, it is actually a very simple plumbing project. This diagram and the following instructions can help you understand the inner workings of your toilet and make adjustments as needed. For more troubleshooting with your toilet, visit Professor Flush.

One of the most common toilet problems is excess overflow. This often happens because the water level in the tank is not balanced correctly. The water level should be a half inch or less below the overflow tube. When the water level in the tank rises above the overflow tube, the water will run into the toilet bowl constantly. When the level is too low, the toilet may not flush fully. Luckily, both problems are easily fixed with a screwdriver and a little know-how.

1. Determine the flushing mechanism. Most toilets have one of three different types of flushing mechanisms: a float arm, a float cup or a metered fill valve. A float arm looks like a balloon on the end of a metal rod, the rod part being the “arm.” Usually, the float is made of black rubber, but it can be made of other materials as well. A float cup has the float part wrapped around the refill pipe rather than on the end of a metal arm. A metered fill valve is found on older commodes and does not use a float to control the water level in the tank.

2. Adjust the float arm, the float cup or the metered fill valve. 

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters