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October is Toilet Tank Repair Month - Here's How To Make Simple Repairs Yourself

Did you know that October is National Toilet Tank Repair Month? It’s true! With winter approaching rapidly and summer months having placed a considerable amount of extra strain on your plumbing fixtures, it’s not uncommon for your toilet to have developed a slow leak. The majority of toilet leaks occur in the tank portion of your commode, which means October is the perfect time to take care of your toilet tank repair!

Toilet Tanks & Water Usage

Did you know that a toilet is one of the single largest water users in your home? In fact, flushing toilets accounts for around 40 percent of all water usage in the average American home on a daily basis. That’s more water than doing the dishes by hand, running the dishwasher, washing your clothes, or even running yard or garden sprinklers! Even with modern, low-flow toilets designed to help conserve water, flushing is still one of the biggest consumers of water in the home.

That means that leaks in your toilet can be particularly detrimental. Many people don’t notice toilet leaks because they rarely show up in the form of a puddle of water on the floor. Instead, tank leaks usually involve water slowly dripping down into the bowl below. It’s sometimes hard to detect, and often super easy to ignore. But a leak can be costly—according to toilet part manufacturer Fluidmaster, a leaking toilet wastes enough water to fill two average-size backyard swimming pools every year! That's why handling toilet tank repair jobs when issues arise is so important for your wallet and the environment.

Common Toilet Tank Repair Jobs

Take some time to show your toilet a little bit of love and fix its tank leaks! In fact, the savings on your water bill alone will be quite the boost to your wallet. Here are a few of the most common flaws in a toilet tank and how you can fix them. You may be surprised just how easy some of these toilet tank repair jobs can be!

Loose Lever

The flush handle on the side of your toilet tank is one of the most frequent breakdown spots in the entire toilet. The handle is held on by a plastic bushing that’s pushed through a hole in the tank and then secured with a plastic nut that screws on to the other side. If your handle jiggles freely or feels loose, then odds are this nut has come loose. Don’t be surprised: this is common. In most cases, simply tightening the nut fixes the problem. However, if the handle no longer flushes the toilet, then there’s a chance the handle may have become disconnected from the flapper down at the bottom of the tank. Usually a thin line or small chain connects the two, and to repair this toilet tank, you simply need to re-attach them to set things right again.

Faulty Toilet Flapper

The most likely source for leaks in your plumbing is a faulty flapper. The toilet flapper is a small piece of rubber that acts as a stopper, separating the tank from the bowl. When you flush your toilet, the flapper lifts, allowing water to flow into the bowl below and flush away the waste. Over time, the rubber degrades, wears out, and develops cracks. Small cracks are hard to detect, but larger ones leave a slow trickling sound in your toilet when it shuts off, and prompt your toilet to turn on again and refill the tank every few minutes or so. The good news is, this toilet tank repair is simple and inexpensive!

Toilet flappers are usually extremely cheap and available at nearly all home improvement warehouses. You should expect to have to replace your flapper every two to three years, as exposure to water usually contributes to their degrading condition.

Failure to Refill the Bowl

The fill valve is a valve that turns on to refill the tank after each flush. The valve is controlled by what’s known as a “float,” a small plastic piece that floats, as its name implies. As the water level in your tank rises, the float rises with it. When the float reaches a certain height, it shuts off the fill valve. However, the connection between the float and fill valve may be subject to corrosion or jamming from hard water minerals. If you flush your toilet and the fill valve refuses to turn on, this could be the reason. Likewise, fill valves themselves can simply wear out and start leaking water after a while.

If your fill valve needs replaced, you can buy a new one from your local hardware improvement store for around $10 to $20. Most modern fill valves can be replaced with only a few simple tools, and doing so takes about 10 minutes or so. Just make sure you shut off the water and completely empty your toilet tank by flushing before attempting to do so.

If you need professional toilet tank repair help, call the plumbers at Mr. Rooter of Charlotte today at (704) 842-9508!

About the Author: William Iliev, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte

William has been a trusted plumber and owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Charlotte since 2003. With over 15 years to back him, William has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in water heater services, tree root plumbing repairs, and more.