We've compiled a series of relatively easy toilet repairs that you could do yourself. Our first entry in this series introduces you to all of the parts of the toilet and how it works. Read part 1 here. This second installment will take you through 11 simple steps for fixing a leaking toilet tank. Toilet tanks usually develop leaks when the rubber gaskets/washers or the spud washer begins to deteriorate, allowing water to seep out of the tank. After reading, if you don't think you are up to the repair or if you simply don't have the time, contact us at WaterSmart. One of our fully licensed master plumbers will be happy to do it for you.
Before you begin, gather the following tools and supplies:
small wire brush
rubber tank bolt gaskets/washers
new spud washer
new tank bolts (if yours have rusted)
Step 1: Turn Off The Water
Locate your water shutoff valve below the tank. Turn the handle clockwise. You may need to use locking pliers to get it turned off completely.
Step 2: Drain Out All Of The Water
Flush your toilet and hold up the flap to allow as much water as possible to drain out. Use a sponge to soak up any remaining water.
Step 3: Remove The Tank Bolts
Attach an adjustable screwdriver to one of the tank bolts on the underside of the toilet tank. Use this screwdriver to hold the bolt still as you unscrew the tank bolts with a screwdriver from inside the tank. Remove both bolts and gaskets.
Tip: If the tank bolts are rusty, try applying some lubricant to the top and undersides of the bolts to help you unscrew them. You may need to use locking pliers instead of a screwdriver to unscrew them. If all else fails, you will need to take a hacksaw to the underside of the tank and cut the rusted bolts off.
Step 5: Unscrew The Supply Line
Unscrew the water supply line from under the toilet tank. Be careful as there may be water left in the hose.
Step 6: Remove The Tank
You may want to ask someone to help you lift the tank from the bowl and set it aside.
Step 7: Remove The Old Spud Washer
This is the large, rubber washer placed between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl. If it is stuck on, try using an adjustable wrench to pry it loose.
Step 8: Put On The New Spud Washer
Tighten the spud washer over the spud nut. If possible, purchase a thicker spud washer. It will usually last longer and give a tighter seal.
Step 9: Clean Around The Holes
Thoroughly clean around all of the holes where the bolts were using a wire brush and vinegar. You need a completely clean surface inside and outside of the tank where the new gaskets will be in order for them to seal properly.
Step 10: Replace The Bolts And Gaskets
Put a new rubber gasket/washer on each bolt. Make sure they are firmly seated onto the bolt. Insert each bolt into the clean holes inside the tank. On the underside of the tank, gently re-install the metal nuts onto the bolts, gently tightening them by hand
Step 11: Replace The Tank
Carefully place the tank back on the bowl. Attach new rubber gaskets/washers to the bolts underneath the toilet bowl. Place a metal washer next and then the metal nuts. Alternating from one side to the other, tighten the nuts until the rubber gaskets are properly seated.
Tip: Try not to overtighten the bolts; you can easily crack the tank.
Fixing a leaking toilet tank is not too difficult, even for a first-time handyman. You should be able to complete the entire repair in less than an hour unless the tank bolts are badly rusted in which case it may take you longer.
Watch the following video to watch step by step how to fix a leaking toilet tank.
In our next installment, we will teach you how to unclog a toilet. Part 4 will deal with fixing a running toilet and in Part 5 we will show you how to replace a toilet.
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