Should I repair or replace my toilet?

toilet in need of repair

What’s always sitting around at the ready to be used? 

The toilet. We take them for granted, it stays in one place doing nothing until we need it.  Then when something does go wrong with it, we panic. In this piece today, we’re going to discuss toilet repair basics, because, for the most part of any needed toilet repair, there isn’t much to it.  

Before you can do any toilet repair though, a toilet repair diagnosis is needed. Thankfully, there aren’t that many moving parts to diagnose, and most of it is simple. So, let start from inside the tank with the most basic question, what are the parts called inside a toilet?

From the exterior, there are two-part. The bowl and the tank.  The bowl is the part you sit on and is secured the floor with a flange and a wax ring. Yes, literally a thick ring of wax that creates a seal between the toilet bowl and the floor.   The flange is fastened to the floor by extra-long bolts going through the base of the toilet bowl. Fortunately, most toilet repair jobs won’t require replacing the flange or wax ring. 

Now, we’ll review the parts inside the tank. What goes on inside the tank is important and when any of those parts aren’t working right, can you replace the inside of a toilet? Yes, most of the parts are simple to replace and by knowing basic toilet repair, you could save a lot of money by not having to call a plumber. 

  • The Fill Valve –  Also referred to as the ball cock, this is the tall slim barrel shaped mechanism on the left inside the tank. Attached to that is the float. 
  • The Float – This bulb sphere shaped is attached to that fill valve by the float arm and floats with the water level inside the tank when flushed. 
  • The Float Arm – This is a metal or plastic arm connected to the float by the shut-off lever. 
  • The Float Arm Adjusting Screw – This connects the float to the shut-off lever via the metal rod or plastic arm. A  clockwise turn of this screw allows water to flow into the tank. 
  • The Flush Valve – This mechanism is in the center of the tank inside. The overflow tube is to one side and mounting ears attach the flapper to regulates the water passing tank to the bowl with each flush.
  • The Refill Tube – A 1/8” diameter plastic tube connected to the ballcock mechanism on one end and into the overflow tube at the other end. Water flows through this during the flush cycle and then replenishes the water.
  • The Overflow Tube – A 1” diameter cavity tube connected to the refill tube that allows water to pass to the bowl. As the water inside the tank is too high, it redirects the water to flow in the toilet bowl.
  • The Flapper – The flapper controls the water volume that passes between tank to the bowl with each flush and is connected to the flush valve to create a seal so that water does leak between the tank and the bowl in between flush cycles. 
  • The Flapper Seat – This is a hard, round surface at the base of the flush valve, resting on the seat when the flush valve closes, surrounding the two inch opening at the flush valve base. 
  • The Flush Handle – Located at the upper left front of the toilet tank, this is the handle you push when flushing the toilet. 
  • The Lever Arm – This is usually a metal extension inside the tank  and is connected to the flush valve. Approximately six inches long and extends between the handle to the flush valve or the flapper.
  • The Chain – Connected between the lever arm and the flapper, the chain pulls the flapper up to allow water in the drain to the toilet to flush the water inside the toilet bowl. Many toilet repair, chain is the most common part. It can either be adjusted or replaced. 

What is the lifespan of a toilet?

Fortunately, this main household fixture will last up to 15 years. There isn’t anything else in a home that is used as much as the toilet, so when it does malfunction, toilet repair is crucial, especially if there is only 1 in the house. 

Is replacing a toilet difficult?

If a toilet repair isn’t enough and your toilet needs replacing, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but it isn’t an easy job either. First of all, the bowl and tank are made of ceramic and are very heavy. It must be drained of all the water first, then lifting the two parts often takes 2 people. 

Next, positioning the new toilet must be precise with the wax ring and the toilet repair flange. Once the bowl is set in place on the wax ring, there is extraordinarily little movement allowed because that wax begins to seal immediately. 

toilet in need of repair

Can you replace just the tank of a toilet?

Okay, maybe the few parts inside the toilet are confusing, can you replace the whole tank instead? Absolutely. Again, it is made of ceramic and it is heavy, you’ll still need two people to remove the old after all the water is drained and to position the new tank on the bowl. 

Key to this project is to make sure you purchase the right tank, matching the manufacturer brand and model. Otherwise, you won’t have a proper install which will affect the overall function of your toilet. Call 551-257-6200 today for your toilet repair needs in Saddle Brook, NJ.