A homeowner’s biggest fear of a broken toilet probably isn’t where they’ll have to go to relieve themselves, but the possibility of an expensive plumber bill.
Many find relief thanks to a little do-it-yourself work with a visit to Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware. Some repairs are so easy to do that you’d be flushing money down the toilet if you sought professional help.
The first thing you need to do is identify the problem.
Is the toilet constantly running? It may be stuck in refill mode so you’ll want to check the tube that runs from the fill valve to the flush valve. If it’s under water, trim it down. A loose or worn flapper also might cause it so you may need to adjust the chain a couple links.
Is the tank not filling? Check the water supply valve and make sure it’s open. Also check the hose between the valve and toilet tank. If the line is damaged, you’ll need to buy a new one. If that isn’t the issue, you may need a new fill valve, which is easy to install. Both items can be purchased from Ace.
Can’t flush your toilet? Check the arm connecting the flush lever to the flapper chain. Replace it if broken. If not, the chain might simply need to be tightened. Another problem could be the flapper. Yet another reason it’s not flushing could be the tank’s water level. On the newer fill valves you can simply twist the float cup and adjust the water level.
Is it leaking? Use leak detection tablets to find the leak. You likely will need to replace your toilet since it can’t be patched.
Is it clogged? Using a force-ball plunger, turn off the water and press down firmly, but slowly. Let the plunger pop up and repeat until it’s clog-free.
For household tools, supplies and more, visit Bjorkman's Ace Hardware, 4520 W. Crystal Lake Rd., McHenry. (815) 385-3660.