of 6 Common Toilet Tank Problems
starting any repair, turn off the water supply valve
located under the toilet tank. If there is no shutoff
valve under the fixture, turn off the water at the main
shutoff valve. For simple repairs you may not need to
flush the water out of the tank.
Tank Fills, Water Still Runs
the tank cover & check the float arm. The float arm
& ball may be connected by an L-shaped collar which
lets you raise or lower the float ball more
about half the float ball should be below water. When
there's water in the float ball it won't rise high enough
to close the valve. Unscrew the float ball & replace
w/ a new one.
lifting up on the float arm doesn't stop the water, the
washers on the intake valve may be worn.
you attempt to remove the intake valve, turn off the
water supply & flush the tank.
open the valve, remove the two thumbscrews or pivot
screws & slide the float ball, arm & float arm
linkage out of the valve. Remove the cap if there is one
covering the valve. Pull the plunger upward from the
valve, or slide a screwdriver blade through the slot at
the top of the plunger & lift out. Replace the seat
washer at the base of the plunger, as well as the split
washer that fits into a groove in the valve. If the
intake valve is a diaphragm-type (washerless) assembly,
you will need to obtain a replacement kit from a plumbing
supply store & follow installation
intake valve assemblies made of plastic operate w/out a
float ball & arm & simplify the flushing action.
On one type, sliding a float cup up or down on a rod
allows you to adjust the tank water level.
a replacement valve assembly requires unscrewing the slip
nut on the underside of the tank to remove the old
assembly. It you plan to do this yourself, first make
certain that the water supply is turned off & then
flush the tank. Sponge out any remaining water from the
tank or it will leak onto the floor when you remove the
valve assembly. Be careful not to crack the flush tank w/
tools as you work.
intake valve & connecting supply pipe are called the
ballcock assembly & sold as one unit. Follow the
manufacturer's directions to install the new assembly
& tighten the slip nut carefully, so as not to crack
Tank Doesn't Fill, Water Still Runs
running toilet may be caused by a defect in the lift
wire, the flush ball or the flush valve.
the lift wire & lift rod that raise & lower the
flush ball become corroded or bent. Smooth the rough or
corroded wire & rod w/ steel wool or replace w/ new
the guide arm for the lift rod is not correctly aligned,
it will keep the flush ball from seating directly over
the ball seat. Loosen the setscrew in the guide arm &
move the guide back & forth until the ball drops
directly over the ball seat. Tighten the
the lift wire, rod & guide are operating properly, a
worn flush ball may be the problem. If the rubber flush
ball has hardened or is out of shape, purchase a
replacement ball & screw it onto the end of the lift
rod. You may wish to purchase a flapper-type replacement
for the tank ball. The flapper unit has a long life-span
& quieter flush than the conventional flush ball.
Follow manufacturer's installation
the ball seat becomes rough & uneven from corrosion.
This prevents the flush ball from completely sealing the
opening. After draining the tank, smooth the ball seat
opening w/ steel wool.
Toilet Won't Flush Properly
the toilet handle must be held down to complete the
flushing action, first check the trip lever. The lever is
set at a slight angle inside the tank so that it can
operate w/out scraping the tank side, the overflow tube
or the intake valve. If the trip lever isn't moving
freely when you flip the handle, slightly bend it toward
the center of the tank. As you bend it, use one hand to
hold-the lever in place where it joins the
second place to check is the lift wire. It may not be
raising the flush ball high enough & the outrushing
water may be pulling it back down too quickly. Simply
bend the lift wire enough to shorten it. The shorter lift
wire will hold the flush ball out of the way of the
inadequate flush can also be caused if the float ball is
adjusted too low to allow a full tank of water. Bend the
float arm upward to correct this. The water level in most
tanks should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the top of the
clogged outlet ports around the underside of the bowl rim
may cause an inadequate flush. Scrub the ports w/ a wire
brush to free them of sediment or mineral
Tank Fills Slowly or Noisily
check the water supply valve under the tank. It may be
open only part way. Open the valve completely to let a
full stream of water flow into the tank.
tank refill tube that is too short may be causing the
toilet noises. One simple solution is to use a piece of
rubber or plastic tubing slightly larger in diameter than
the refill tube & about 6 to 8 inches in length.
Slide the tubing about two inches over the end of the
refill tube. The free end of the hose that you've added
will deposit water silently on the bottom of the
Condensation on Toilet Tank
usually occurs on the tank surface as a result of cold
tank water & warmer room air. A simple solution is to
add a tank cover to the outside of the tank.
method is to install an insulating liner inside the tank.
Kits are available from the plumbing supply stores.
Follow manufacturer's installation
way of stopping condensation is to install a mixing valve
which adds a little warm water to the cold water entering
the tank. This raises the temperature of the tank water.
This device may be purchased from a plumbing supply store
& installed following the manufacturer's
Leaks Under the Toilet Tank
leak at the outlet or where the outlet pipe joins the
bowl may require removing the tank. This is not a job for
the inexperienced home repair person. Call a plumber for
Before starting any repair, turn off the water supply
valve under the toilet tank. If there is no shutoff valve
under the fixture, turn off the water at the main shutoff
w/ water or other liquids may cause slippery conditions.
You may want to cover the floor w/ newspapers or a drop