Fixing a running toilet

My downstairs bathroom has had a running toilet since I moved in.  I guess I just didn’t stop and think about all the water that toilet was actually wasting.   Especially since it was such a quick, inexpensive, and easy fix to do.

Here’s what you need:

  • Screwdriver
  • New toilet flapper

Here’s what to do:

1. To check and see if your flapper is old, warped, or just not sealing correctly, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank.  Wait 30 minutes.  If you see food coloring dripping down the sides of the toilet bowl, you’ve found your culprit.  This is the most common fix.  If you don’t see coloring appearing, don’t despair, I didn’t either.

2. Turn the water off to the toilet.

3. Flush (and hold down the handle) to get as much of the water out of the tank as possible.

4. Unhook the flapper from the arm (I replaced my flapper while I was at it– just in case) and unsnap (or disconnect) below as well.  Throw the old flapper away.

5. Attach the new flapper and rehook the metal to the arm.  You might need to adjust the length of the chain– once you turn the water back on you can try different lengths while flushing to see what works the best.

6. Turn the water back on.

7. If your problem isn’t fixed by replacing the flapper, you probably need to adjust the float.  On my toilet, it’s a screw at the top of the float, but in some toilets you’re going to need the tank empty to adjust the float near the bottom.  Look for the part that rises with the water level and causes the water to turn off.  Then, just use your screwdriver to adjust in the opposite direction.  The water should be about an inch lower than the overflow tube top.

Try these two fixes and if you’re still having issues, you’re probably going to need to replace all the toilet tank parts– Home Depot and Lowes sell kits for this.  But chances are, replacing the flapper or adjusting the float should fix your problem.


How to remove & install a bathroom faucet (pedestal sink)

I’ve never liked the faucet in my upstairs bathroom, and when I bought my house, it didn’t have a stopper.  I was always afraid of dropping stuff down there!  Plus, I’ve had issues with water leaking, so I thought this would be the perfect time to solve that mystery too.

Here’s what you need:

  • A faucet kit (including drain assembly)
  • A wrench
  • Vice Grips/locking pliers
  • Plumbers Putty
  • A small bucket or paint tray to catch the water
  • Old towel

What to do:

This is a GREAT VIDEO to watch before you start.

1. Turn the water valves off.  (Turn the knobs as far to the right as you can)

2. Disconnect the water lines from the old faucet.  Disconnect the mounting nuts that hold the old faucet to the underside of the sink.

3. Remove old faucet from the sink.  Clean around the area and use a screwdriver (if necessary) to scrape carefully any residue/old caulk off.

4. Put new faucet into the holes in counter.  Reattach the mounting nuts to hold it tightly to the counter.

5. Reattach the water lines to the faucet hookups.

**If you’re also replacing the Pop-up drain assembly, continue with the directions.  Otherwise, turn the water back on and check for leaks.

6. Unscrew the tailpiece that connects the P-trap with the pipe coming from the drain.  See a great explanation of all of these directions HERE.

7. Unscrew the connector between the pip connecting the drain and the drain.  Pull the gasket (rubber) down.  Then you should be able to put the piece upward to loosen the drain connection to the basin in sink. Be prepared for all kinds of hair and gunk in there. GROSS.

8. Remove all old pieces.

9. Get out the plumbers putty and roll a snake.  Wrap it around the underside of the drain piece and set into the sink.  This creates somewhat of a seal, and it doesn’t matter if some seeps up while you’re pushing it down.

10. Then connect the new pipe, gasket, and washer underneath the sink.  Connect back up with the P-trap.

I got this picture from DIY Advice

11. Drop the stopper into the drain (facing the correct direction) so you can insert the pivot rod (rod with the ball on it) into the stopper.

12. Connect the pivot rod and the lift rod with the Clevis strap (yeah, if I didn’t have the diagram above, I would have no idea the proper names for these things…)

Then turn on your water for at least 15 seconds and look for any leaks.