Do It Yourself Plumbing: Fixing Flush Valves

If your toilet is not flushing properly or if it's leaking it could be due to a faulty flush valve. Learn how to repair or replace your toilet's flush valve without the cost or hassle of a plumber by following these do-it-yourself instructions.

If your toilet is not flushing properly or if it's leaking it could be due to a faulty flush valve. There are a couple of choices when it comes to correcting your flush valve's problem. You can just repair the old flush valve if it's a simple problem, replace the flush ball or flapper with a newer flapper, or just install a new flush valve and save yourself a headache in the long run.

If your flush ball or flapper looks old or encrusted you'll need to clean or replace it. You can clean any deposits from the seat by using a piece of steel wool or abrasive paper specifically designed for wet or dry surfaces. If the seat is plastic be sure to use a sponge so that you do not damage the seat.

To install a new flapper you'll need to disconnect the trip arm's lift hardware and remove the flapper from the overflow pipe. You need to follow the instructions that come with your new flapper during installation and then re-connect the lift hardware to the trip arm.

If you suspect your flush valve is leaking you can test it by placing a few drops of food coloring in the base of the tank and allowing it to set for a few hours. After a few hours, check your toilet bowl for food coloring. If there is food coloring present in your toilet bowl then it means your flush valve is leaking and you'll need to repair or replace it.

You can purchase a glue in place repair kit, but on a side note some toilets may not allow this type of replacement. Check with the package to be sure the kit will work specifically with your toilet. Once you are sure this option is right for your tank, turn off your toilet's water supply and flush it. You'll need to soak up the access water in the bottom of the tank with a sponge. Your next step should be to remove the inside workings of the tank and then clean the seat with steel wool or wet and dry sandpaper assuming it's brass. If the seat is plastic be sure and us a sponge instead since wool or sandpaper can damage the plastic. Once that has been accomplished you'll then want to dry the seat thoroughly until no moisture is present. Remove the paper from one side of the repair sealant and position over the seat. Remove the other paper from the other side of the sealant and press the flusher repair firmly over the sealant. Re-connect the inside workings and turn the water supply back on.

If repairing the valve in not an option and you've come to the realization that your only logical choice would be to replace it, your first step will be to shut off your tank's water supply. Next use a sponge to mop up any remaining water from the base of the tank and disconnect the flexible tube. Unscrew the bolts connected to the tank and bowl flange carefully and remove the tank from the bowl. Remove the nut that holds the flush valve to the tank carefully and install the new flush valve by following the directions on the package. Then re-position the tank back onto the bowl flange and re-tighten the bolts that connect the two together. Carefully re-connect the flexible tube and turn the tank's water supply back on.

Now that you have determined and corrected your flush valve's problem, you can take note in the fact that you have just saved yourself the hassle and expense of another plumber at your doorstep.

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