Repairing and replacing tank-toilet valves; unclogging a toilet.
When you flush a tank toilet, a trip lever lifts the stopper ball out of the flush-valve seat, releasing water into the bowl. When the tank is almost empty, the stopper ball drops back into the valve seat and seals the outlet. As the float ball descends with the tank’s water level, it opens the ball-cock valve, allowing water from the inlet pipe to refill the tank and the bowl. As the tank fills, the float ball rises, closing the ball-cock valve and stopping the flow of water.
A defective ball-cock or flush-valve assembly causes a toilet to run noisily and continuously. To troubleshoot a toilet, remove the tank lid and observe what happens during and after a flush. Make your repairs accordingly. Repairing a leaky flush valve
The water level in a filled tank should be 3/4 inch below the top of the overflow tube. If the water keeps running but the tank doesn’t fill, the flush valve is leaking. Close the water supply at the shutoff valve.
Flush the toilet. As the tank empties, check whether the stopper ball seats tightly in the valve. If it doesn’t, loosen the guide-arm thumbscrews; center the arm over the valve seat. Straighten bent lift wires. Scrub the valve seat with steel wool. Replace a worn-out stopper ball with a more efficient flapper ball.
To install a flapper ball, drain the tank by closing the shutoff valve and flushing the toilet. Unhook the lift wires; lift off the guide arm and the stopper ball. Slide the flapper ball’s collar down the overflow tube. Center the ball in the valve seat; tighten the collar thumbscrew. Hook the chain to the trip lever; allow 1/22 inch of slack.
Fixing the ball cock
If the tank fills but water keeps spilling into the overflow tube, lift the float arm. If the flow stops, the float mechanism is at fault. Remove the float ball by twisting it counterclockwise; replace a cracked or water-filled ball. If the ball is all right, bend the float arm down slightly. Attach the ball to the float arm; flush the toilet. If the water flow persists, the ball-cock washers are probably worn; replace them.
Close the water supply and flush the toilet. Remove the retaining pins holding the float mechanism to the ball cock. Lift out the float arm and the plunger; slide the plunger off the ball-cock lever. Use a screwdriver to pry off the plunger’s split washer; unscrew the washer at the plunger’s base. Replace the washers. Reassemble the unit. Open the water supply and flush the toilet. If water still spills into the overflow tube, replace the ball-cock assembly with a quieter, less leak-prone inlet or fill valve. Follow manufacturer’s directions for installation.
Unclogging a toilet
Add or bail out water until the bowl is half full. Use a funnel-cup plunger that fits snugly into the toilet’s outflow passage. Pump It up and down rapidly 10 times. Pour water into the bowl; if the water level rises, bail out the excess and try again. If the plunger doesn’t work after several tries, use a toilet auger. Insert the auger’s curved end into the outflow passage and crank the handle until the tip bites into the clog. Slowly pull out the clog or break it up by moving the handle back and forth. If this doesn’t work, call a plumber.