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Toilet Tank Repair

October 6th, 2010

toilet-tank-fixing.jpgRepairing a toilet tank isn’t the difficult chore that it seems. The tank is basically just a big container that holds the water before the flush. Pressing down on the handle in the tank raises a flapper. This releases the water in the tank out into the bowl and carries away the waste inside. Repairing a tank requires first identifying the leak, which could be coming from one of four places: the tank itself, the fill valve, the tank bolts or the tank gasket.

Identify the Leak

The first step is to figure out where the leak is coming from. Do this by removing the top of the tank. Squeeze a few drops of red food coloring into the tank so it turns a nice, dark red. Then wait. You will be able to pinpoint the leak by seeing where the red water comes out.

Get Rid of the Water

Shut off the water supply for the toilet tank. The water supply valve for the toilet is located on the wall behind and underneath the tank. Turn the knob on the end of the water supply valve clockwise to shut off the water.

Remove the toilet lid. Flush the tank and continue to hold down the handle. This keeps the flapper open and allows all the water inside to run out. Wipe up any water inside with the sponge and towel.

Remove the Tank

Place another towel on the floor underneath the tank. Unscrew the plastic coupling on the underside of the tank from the fill valve. Loosen the nuts on the underside of the tank with the adjustable wrench and remove them. Lift the tank off the back of the toilet bowl and set it to the side.

Cracked Tank

These can be spot repaired by filling in the crack with a line of silicone caulk and the caulk gun. Allow the caulk time to dry before replacing the toilet tank.

Leak in Bolts at Bottom

Examine the rubber washer heads on the toilet tank bolts. These should be in good condition and free from any tears. If not, remove the old tank bolts and washers and replace them with new ones.

Leak in Fill Valve

Examine the rubber washer at the bottom of the fill valve. This also needs to be replaced if it is cracked or worn. To replace, unscrew the retaining nut at the bottom of the tank and lift out the fill valve. Replace the washer. Insert the fill valve into the tank and secure with the retaining nut.

Putting it all Back Together

Replace the tank on the back of the toilet. Insert the tank bolts and washers through the bottom of the tank so they emerge below. Tighten the nuts on the bottom of the tank.

Wrap the tank inlet with Teflon plumber’s tape. Thread the coupling on and tighten with the pliers.

Restore the water supply by turning the water supply valve counterclockwise. Allow the tank to fill. Flush the toilet and check the tank for leaks.

Materials needed: towels, sponge, adjustable wrench, pliers, silicone caulk, caulk gun, new tank bolt washers, new fill valve washer, Teflon plumber’s tape


This article was supplied by Scott Calonico from Constant Content.

Somewhat related article: How to Fix a Slow Flush Toilet


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