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What are the Best Tips for Fixing a Broken Toilet?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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A broken toilet can be a major source of inconvenience for homeowners, and professional repairs often cost much more than many people expect. Even a functioning toilet that continuously runs or suffers from leaks can waste water, increase water bills, and lead to unpleasant messes or noise. Fortunately, many common problems that plague a broken toilet are easy to repair, and require only basic tools and supplies. The first step in repairing a toilet is to familiarize oneself with how a toilet works and look over the unit to see if adjusting some components in the tank will fix the issue. In some cases, one will need tools such as a plunger or plumbing snake to fix a broken toilet.

For a broken toilet handle, or one that no longer seems to flush normally, the problem can usually be fixed by repairing the chain that connects the handle to the flapper. To fix this problem, lift the lid off the toilet tank and inspect the area where the handle enters the tank. If the chain has become disconnected from the end of the handle, reconnect it to fix the problem. If the chain is still connected but the toilet still doesn't flush when you press the handle, try shortening the chain instead. Sometimes the chain simply gets tangled or twisted, and can easily be repaired by hand.

If the broken toilet won't flush due to clogs, start by using a plunger to clear the blocked pipe. Align the cup end of the plunger over the hole in the bottom of the toilet and vigorously life the handle of the plunger up and down. If this doesn't work, insert a plumbing snake into the pipe and unwind it down into the toilet to clear the clog. Look for padded toilet snakes rather than sewer snakes with sharp edges.

When a broken toilet seems to run or fill continuously, the problem often lies in the flapper assembly. Look inside the toilet tank and check that the flapper lies flat over the hole leading into the toilet bowl. If not, try cleaning the base of the flapper to remove mineral build-up or other debris. If the edges of the flapper are cracked or broken, replace it with a new unit to eliminate leaks. For toilets that continue to leak, check the float ball in the top of the tank and make sure it isn't touching any of the tank walls.

If the issue with a broken toilet is a cracked lid or seat, remove the morning bolts at the base of the seat and replace the damaged component. Reinstall the bolts to hold the new lid or seat in place. For cracks in the bowl or tank itself, the entire toilet must be replaced.

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