How To Fix A Leaking Toilet At Home

Fixing a leaky toilet is one of the easier home repairs that you can do. For a few dollars and about an hour of your time, you can stop a toilet from leaking and make it flush more efficiently. After a quick trip to your plumbing supply store for parts, you'll be ready to tackle this simple home repair project.

Supplies You'll Need

The plumbing supply or home improvement store will carry several toilet repair kits that include all of the parts you'll need. They all will fit your toilet, so pick the kit that the retailer has the most of. This is likely the most popular brand and will work fine in your toilet.

You'll need just a few tools for this project, such as:

  • channel lock pliers or small crescent wrench
  • knife or box cutter
  • large towel or sponge to mop up spills

All of the connections in the toilet should be hand-tight, so you may not need the wrenches. If this is an old toilet and the parts are rusted or corroded, you may need to contact one of your local plumbers to cut the old parts out.

Removing the Old Toilet Parts

1. Turn off the water with the shutoff valve located on the wall behind the toilet. If there is no shutoff valve, you'll need to turn the water off to the entire house. At some point, have a Rescue Rooter plumber install a shutoff valve to make repairs easier in the future.

2. Flush the toilet and let it drain. Remove the lid from the tank and use the towel or sponge to remove any standing water.

3. Disconnect the water supply from the bottom of the tank by unscrewing the connection counterclockwise.

4. From inside the tank, disconnect the chain connected to the rubber flapper valve on the bottom of the tank. Remove the small rubber tube running from the flushing mechanism to the top of the inlet tube.

5. Underneath the tank, unscrew the large plastic nut counterclockwise that is holding the flushing mechanism in place. Remove the flushing mechanism by lifting it straight up and out of the tank.

6. Remove the rubber flapper valve from the bottom of the tank.

7. Wipe out the inside of the tank, especially around the openings where you removed the parts.

Installing the New Flushing Mechanism

1. Unscrew the large plastic nut from the bottom of the new flushing mechanism. Push the bottom of the new part through the large hole in the bottom of the tank, and screw the large plastic nut on clockwise until snug. Turn the flushing mechanism until the small water return tube points to the large inlet tube in the tank. Hand tighten the large nut until the flushing mechanism is secure.

2. Attach the small rubber tube in the kit to the water return tube on the flushing mechanism and the top of the inlet tube. Trim the rubber tube with the knife if it's too long.

3. Connect the flapper valve to the bottom of the tank over the drain hole. Attach the chain from the flushing handle to the top of the valve.

4. Connect the water supply from the wall to the flushing mechanism sticking out through the bottom of the tank and hand tighten until the hose is secure.

5. Turn the water valve on slowly while watching for signs of leaks. Allow the tank to fill completely, and then try flushing.

Project Tips

  • Adjust the length of the chain going from the flushing handle to the flapper valve until the toilet is easiest to flush.
  • If the tank doesn't quite fill completely, turn the screw or knob adjustment on top of the flushing mechanism to control the water height.
  • Turn the water shutoff valve all the way open to reduce the chance that it will develop a leak.