You rush to the toilet to take a leak and pull down the flush when you’re done only to find out that there is no water in the tank. Such situations can be quite annoying. Fixing a leaking toilet is surprisingly easy and you don’t always have to call in an expert.

Understand the Flush Mechanics

The first step before you embark on fixing your leaking toilet is to understand the mechanics. There are quite a few types of toilets that have different ways of collecting and flushing down water, however, the basic concept remains the same.

When you press the handle down, the chain lifts the flapper up and lets the water flow down. As the water level drops, the flapper drops and closes. The plastic float connects to the value that allows water to enter in. When the float rises above the water flow, it stops the water. In the middle, there is another tube which drains the water out in case it gets too high.

Check the Fill Tube

This is a small tube that is connected to the fill valve. The job of the fill tube is to squirt down enough water down the flush when the water stream is over. This water re-fills the toilet bowl.

Just push the tube firmly on the tube to make sure there is no loose connection. Also, flush the toilet and make sure that the fill tube is working fine and not leaking any water.

Fix the Float

A lot of people come with complaints that the tank does not stop filling water. The problem is with the plastic float. A float that is set too low will collect little water and produce a weak flush. If it’s set too high, the water will keep running and the tank will overflow.

Look for the fill level mark in the tank and mark it on the overflow tube so it’s more visible. Then, flush the toilet and see if it stops at that mark. If not, you need to adjust the float accordingly.

If you have an older toilet, you will have to adjust the rod that connects the plastic float. The newer toilets just require you to screw or slide a clip down the rod.

In case the fill valve just won’t shut off, it’s probably defective and the part needs to be replaced.

Adjust the Flapper Chain

One major reason why your toilet flapper is not closing is because of the flapper chain. A chain that is tangled or too short won’t allow the flapper to shut properly. This causes the annoying cycle of emptying of the tank and refilling it.

A flapper chain that is too long causes the flapper to shut quickly before all the water can be emptied out. You will have to hold the flush lever before all the water is emptied out.

What you can do is alter the chain length so that there is only a bit of slackness when closed. By keeping it short, you reduce the chances for any tangles. Try out the flush and make sure that the flush rod doesn’t strike the lid hard. If it does, bend it down slightly and alter the chain length.

If the leak persists after all this, then your toilet needs a new flapper. Take the old flapper to the store so you don’t get the wrong one.

Try these things out before you decide to call the plumber. Chances are that you can fix it yourself.

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