Toilets Are Common And Simple Plumbing Repairs Any Homeowner Can Perform
Complex Machine: The Toilet Invented by Thomas Crapper
“Considering that nearly half the water that is used in the average household flows through toilets, it is remarkable that these virtually automatic devices give such trouble-free service with so little attention,” says Bob Beall, Pittsburgh’s expert plumber: Mr. Rooter.
According to Beall, repairs and adjustments are usually minor and within the capabilities of an inexperienced home plumber. “Although the mechanism of the tank toilet, by far the most common type in houses, remains a mystery to many, no householder need to be finicky about removing the tank top and poking around inside.” Beall says, “The water there is as pure as it is anywhere in the house, and the valves, levers and floats move slowly so that it is easy to observe the way they interact and control the flushing cycle.”
Leaks and noises are the most frequent problems with tank toilets, and the two are often interrelated. An intermittent gurgle of water from tank to bowl, for example, indicates a faulty outlet valve. A high whine or whistle accompanied by a continuous run of water is a sign that the ball cock–the device that starts and stops the refill cycle–needs attention.
“Learning to diagnose such problems is a big step toward correcting them,” says Mr. Rooter.
- Adjusting The Tank Ball: Flush the toilet and watch the tank ball as it drops with the water level. If it does not fall straight into the outlet valve–the large opening at the bottom of the tank–loosen the thumbscrew that fastens the guide arm to the overflow pipe. Reposition the arm and the lower lift wire so the tank ball will be centered directly over the outlet valve. Straighten both of the lift wires if necessary.
- Installing A Hinged Flapper Ball: Drain the tank and remove the old guide arm and lift wires. Slip the collar of the frame to the bottom of the overflow pipe, align the ball over the outlet valve and tighten the thumbscrew on the collar. Hook the chain from the ball through a hole in the trip lever directly above, leaving about 1/2 inch of slack. Turn the water on, flush the toilet and see if the tank drains completely. If it does not, lessen the slack or move the chain one or two holes toward the rear of the lift arm.
- Tightening The Handle And Trip Lever: Use a screwdriver or wrench to tighten the handle on its shaft. If this does not solve the problem, remove the tank lid and tighten the lift lever on the inside of the handle shaft. You may have to use an adjustable wrench to secure the retaining nut so the bracket does not wobble but still moves freely when the handle is turned. With the wrench or pliers, tighten the trip-lever setscrew against the flattened surface of the handle shaft.
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Debra Santavicca, PS, SMM, WebIT
Mr. Rooter Media Center