How to Repair a Toilet

A toilet that runs constantly or doesn’t flush properly can be quite a nuisance and waste of water. There are several common problems associated with toilets that are fairly easy to diagnose and repair.

Repairing a Toilet

When you remove the cover of the tank, you’ll notice that the toilet contains an overflow tube to keep it from flooding, a float to control the water level, an intake valve to let water into the tank, and a flapper valve on the bottom that is connected to the handle by a chain.

Inside Toilet.

Often when a toilet won’t stop running, the culprit is that the water level in the tank is set too high. This allows water to spill over the top of the overflow tube and keeps the intake valve from shutting off.

Overflow Tube

Depending on how the toilet is made, the water level in the tank can be adjusted by either turning a screw on the top of the intake valve,

Adjusting water level with a screwdriver.

or by reaching into the tank and turning an adjustment at the bottom.

Adjusting water level by hand.

When you have finished adjusting it, flush the toilet and check to see that the water level remains a bit below the top of the overflow tube.

Another common problem is a gradual loss of water in the tank, which causes the intake valve to cycle on and off periodically. If this is the case, you probably have a leaky flapper valve. To check, pour a little food coloring in the tank.

Adding food coloring.

If the water in the bowl changes color without flushing it, the flapper valve needs to be replaced.

The water in the bowl changing colors.

To replace the flapper, turn off the water to the toilet at the cutoff valve.

Turn off toilet

Flush the toilet to purge the water from the tank. Reach inside the tank and remove the old flapper valve.

Replace flapper.

Replace it with a new one and reattach the chain from the handle.

If neither of these two repairs solves the problem, you might have to resort to replacing the entire inner workings of the tank. Kits are available at home improvement stores that contain all the parts necessary, along with step-by-step instructions.

Toilet Repair Kit

If the problem involves the intake valve, unhook the water line from the bottom of the tank, and loosen the nut that holds the intake value.

Intake valve.

Remove the intake valve and replace it with the new one.

Replace guts.

If the overflow tube and flapper assembly require replacement, the tank will have to be removed from the toilet by loosening the two bolts that hold it in place. After replacing the components, reattach the tank to the toilet. The chain from the handle to the flapper should have a little slack in it, but not so much that it can become lodged under the flapper when it is flushed. When everything is back in place, fill up the tank and check for leaks.

If the toilet leaks at the floor when flushed, the problem lies with the seal between the bowl and drain flange. To repair, remove the plastic caps on the bolts that hold the bowl to the floor and gradually tighten up the bolts. Don’t over tighten and be careful not to crack the base of the bowl.

If it still leaks, the toilet will have to be removed and the wax ring that seals the bowl to the drain flange replaced. See our article on How to Remove and Replace a Toilet for more details.


  1. My tank doesn’t have a float to control water level. Instead, there is a sliding piece of equipment (“Hunter”?) on the intake or refill valve which can be pulled up as much as 4 inches and twisted side to side, but without screws or clamps to adjust. The problem is overflowing water w/ each flush into the overflow pipe. How do I correct this and do you any pictures for this type of toilet? Thanks so much, Rebecca

  2. The problem with my toilet is that it’s very hard to flush. You have to really push down on the lever. I can’t figure out what the problem is. Any solutions or suggestions? Thanks, Ginger

  3. Ginger,
    You might try moving the chain to the hole near the end of the rod that attachs to the handle. That way it has more leverage when you push on it.

  4. During flushing, the water in the tank seems to flush straight down the drain with very
    little (not enough for a proper flush) going
    into the bowl. This is my third commode and
    all have operated much the same. WHY?

  5. I got new floors in my bathroom so they had to remove the toilet and put the floors down and then replace the toilet. My toilet works fine but when I flush you can hear the water in the pipes and it is very loud. When I flush the downstairs toilet you can hear the water in the pipes in the upstairs bathroom. Could this be a water pressure problem?

  6. ginger, i had the same problem. i took a plastic handle from a bath brush,scruber and i hung the handle on the flusher and taped it. this gave me some levrage, to pull it to the side to flush. outside the toilet. hope you get it.


  8. Paula,
    It might be that it’s not vented properly. This could allow sewer gases to bubble up through the toilet and/or create a suction effect when it is flushed. If it didn’t do it before, check to be sure the vent pipe on the roof isn’t blocked. Look down it with a flashlight and see if you can feel air going through it when the toilet is flushed.

  9. I just installed a new Mansfield toilet, elongated and high profile with a ‘magnaflush’ system. Everything went well with the installation, nothing leaks. But the water in the bowl gradually flows out so there’s just a tiny bit in th every bottom. Is it flowing back up the toilet bowl trap (S trap, I believe)? I hope you can help me solve this mystery and correct the problem.


  10. I can’t figure this out and either can my plumber. My home is about 40 years old. We have 4 bathrooms and we’ve never had any major toilet issues.
    Back in August our downstairs toilet overflowed and ruined all the carpet in the living room, bedroom, and vanity area.
    We called the plumber the first one augered the system, but found no real problem, replaced the toilet and charged me $900. The problem continued we gave him another chance, but he didn’t fix it. I called another guy my insurance man recommende. He sent a video camera down the system and found a major blockage. He charged $300 and said he didn’t do the kind of repair we needed and called another guy who pulled the toilet, jackhammered to plumimg at the slab and then desided to dig under the foundation to get the roots and things fixed. This cost me $1200. We still have problem at times with overflows. They say all the lines and vents are clean and when the plumber comes back to look at the issue he doesn’t see a problem. When he leaves the toilet will overflow. It doesn’t happen all the time and I’ve turned every sink, tub, and flushed all the other toilets at the same time to recreate the problem. NOTHING!

    It’s so frustrating, because when company comes for the holidays it always seems to overflow. HELP!

  11. Is there an answer for Steve Bottcher’s (11/8/07)water level problem? My neighbor is experiencing the same symptom.

  12. Its a long story…. After 10 years in this new house.. with few problems with toilet I decided to change the whole flush system. Bought complete replacement system from HD. ( I have a Gerber W15 Toilet.). I am not too much expert but I believe I know how to follow instructions.. :).
    1) I took out the tank by taking out the two bolts. It is 2 bolt tank,and refill valve,flush lever, cleaned the tank now
    2) I put the overflow tube which is attached to flush flapper, .
    3) At the bottom (other side of tank)I put the rubber gasket.
    4) Attached refill valve, and put tank back with new bolts.
    Now when I tried to Flush… Everything flushed from the space between tank and toilet..(I believe from having rubber gasket loose)

    So I repeated the process. But this time little too hard on bolts and it cracked the tank. So I Bought a epoxy and it worked. But still the flush is not working. It flushes from the Space between tank and Toilet bowl. I am sure it is from the Rubber Gasket as it is loose. But I have tried couple of times and following the instructions properly…
    Please help… For any suggestions will be great helpful. Where I live plumbers are too expensive and I can’t afford them.

  13. To Kent, If you don’t have sewer, maybe your drain field is clogged. A lot of people in our developement had to have their drain field dup up. We didn’t, because we are soon getting sewer. Our basement camode sometimes overflows from doing laundry and if it has rained a lot.

  14. I have an American Standard toilet upstairs. We dont have a flapper type toilet. It is a long plastic pole and when the water in in the tank i leaks out slowly which in turn makes my toilet run. After a while i couldnt get water to fill the tank. Figured that out but like i said the tube sits on a thin red gasket.I replaced it( the thin red gasket) and it works for a few flushes then it will leak again and i have to turn the toilet water intake off so i dont waste water and have a big bill (TO LATE). i really think who designed this type of seal must of not thought it out. Any suggestions. I dont know if i can change the inners to a flap type seal.It’s only a few years old so i shouldnt have to buy a new toilet Thanks

  15. Me again I to had a plumber come out and he does not know whats going on either, other than the thin red gasket is a joke unfortunatly the toilet didnt run and lose water when he was here ha ha

  16. I seem to have experienced the perfect storm of toilet problems. I just completed installing laminate flooring in my house and two days late,awoke to ½ inch of water everywhere so I’m looking at a complete replacement. The toilet apparently overflowed after a nighttime flush and the only thing I can think of is that 2 things happened at the same time: 1) the float valve stuck open and 2), the toilet got plugged up simultaneously. Otherwise the overflow tube should have handled the continuously running water from the stuck valve, right? In my catastrophic haze, after shutting off the toilet water valve and cleaning most of the water out, I did try flushing the toilet and it didn’t see to flush right so I ran a short toilet hrough the toilet. I turned the water back on and that’s when I found the float valve didn’t shut off. Ever heard of this combination of events and what if anything can I do to stop it from recurring? Thanks

  17. Don,
    One possibility is that the hole in the tank for the handle might be lower than the top of the overflow tube, causing water to run out around the loose fitting handle. I noticed this on my toilet the other day. While I fixed it by lowering the water level in the tank, I probably should cut the overflow tube down lower than the handle hole just in case.

  18. When we moved into this house several years ago, we were under pressure to leave the former house. I had to make a quick decision although I was immediately aware of many problems, especially the two bathrooms since neither had a window. Soon, we realized that the hall toilet bowl semi-flushed several times a day and night. I thought the cause was a worn flapper. I had learned many years ago how to replace flappers. Unfortunately, I found that I could not replace the flapper because the sink and counter is once piece, and the counter is over the toilet allowing only a two-inch space. There is barely enough space to slide the tank top off. My daughter and I cannot unscrew the toilet bowl, and lift it out to replace the flapper, and since we did not have the money, and still do not have the money to call a plumber, we had to accept the problem. Two years ago, I became aware that water was leaking at the
    bottom of the tank and was dripping at the back of the toilet seat. We placed the cardboard core of an empty towel roll behind the toilet seat, and a plastic container on the floor. I cut out an area of the top. I cut out a section of the plastic snap on top and when the cardboard core was wet, the water would drop into the container. This “repair” lasted for a short time, however, probably because the heat/air-condition does not work I noticed mold forming on the water shut-off valve, and the metal disk that fits against the wall. I cleaned that, but during the past winter months,
    rust formed on the water supply line, the shut-off valve, and the wall disk. We are terrified that if we try to replace the two parts, the shut-off valve and the water supply line, that when we unscrew it, the parts may come apart, and if that does not occur, then when we replace the two parts, we may not be able to screw them tight enough which would cause more of a leak. No. We still cannot remove the toilet bowls. Both bathroom toilets have rust in the same place, and the two screws on each of the toilet bowls are covered with rust. We are also terrified that the rust will eat through the supply line, which will allow water to burst through the entire house ruining everything. We can afford to purchase the supply line and the shut-off valve, but we cannot afford a plumber. What can we do to fix the current problem? Will our wiping the rust off cause a major problem? Is there a glue or tape that we can put on the supply line over the rust to prevent it from breaking? Please help. YVN

  19. I should have added that we turned off the shut-off valve in the hall bathroom toilet last week. We are only using the other toilet. Both of the toilet’s metal disks that fit against the wall are extremely rusty. The hall bathroom toilet water supply line is very rusty. The other toilet’s water supply line is covered with an odd greenish-blue color. I think it may be “pre” rust. We urgently need advice ASAP. YVN We urgently need advice ASAP. YVN

  20. My toilet makes a sound as though it is going to flush but it seems as though it partially flushes. One day this happened time and time again for about 4 hours. Also, I notice movement in the toilet water as though someone were blowing water on its surface. What could this be?

  21. My toilet is leaking from the under the tank .it is the white round ring.We don’t have a flex house it is a long metal thing. How can I fix this? It is driving me nuts leaking in the pail. the metal thing connects to the water valve shut off. Please help me Thanks Debby

  22. Yvonne:

    It is great that you want to fix your toilet. And there is plenty of information available. But it is impossible if there is a counter two inches over the toilet! If you own the house, you must remove this counter, so that you can work on the toilet. If you do not own the house, you must get the landlord to fix the counter and the toilet.

    Removing the rust, carefully, is good. Then you must stop the rust from growing again. You can do this with paint, or most any kind of goop, like vaseline or oil. Just keep paying attention to those surfaces, and you will find a way to fend off the rust! You really only need to worry about rust on thread surfaces. The rest of the rust is most likely “surface” rust, just cosmetic. You could just lightly brush it and apply a coating of “rust reformer” to harden the rust. If the rust really eats all the way through something vital you have a big problem, but this is not likely to happen. What rusty metal disks are you talking about? They are probably not too important. You might be able to just reform the rust or paint them. Or you could reinforce them with silicone rubber or epoxy or other adhesives or caulks. But be careful not to cover up rust on important things unless you do a good job of curing it — it is much more dangerous to have hidden rust eating away than to have ugly rust where you can see what is happening.

    As a temporary measure, you can just turn on the wall valve to let in water to fill the tank to flush the toilet, and then turn off the valve right away to not waste water. This will work, but you can’t go on doing this because you will wear out the shut-off valve on the wall and then have a much bigger problem.

    It is very important to understand that you do not need a working water supply and tank to have a usable toilet. You only need the toilet part! You can flush with a bucket of water, that you can fill from anywhere, like the bathtub. This is a fine way to make do for as long as necessary — it is only guests that will think it is very peculiar!

  23. Linda:

    You say you see movement in the water “as though someone were blowing water on its surface”. I think this is water trickling into the toilet bowl from the tank. This is caused either by the tank water level being too high, so that there is overflow, or by a leaking flapper. Put dye in the tank water 10 minutes after a flush, and see if the color shows up in the toilet over the next hour. If you have a leak like this, find it and fix it — stop wasting water!

  24. debby:

    You must turn off the water at the wall, flush, then sponge out the rest of the water inside the tank. Then unscrew the water connection that is leaking, where it goes in the tank. After you take it apart, you can see and understand how it works. Then clean all the threads and put it all back together. Use vaseline if you need to make the threads slide smoothly. Make everything tight, but mostly just finger tight, not too tight or you might break something. This will probably fix the leak. But if any parts are worn out or broke or it still leaks, you will probably have to replace gaskets etc.

  25. i need to replace flush handle on my toilet as the handle is splitting but when i pull up on chain to disconnect it, it does not want to come out any suggestions on disconnecting it without breaking it as i do not want to have to replace flapper to. thank you

  26. I put in a new toilet about 4 yrs ago I followed the lines of the old toilet and put in a 12″ apparently some time or other the tank cracked just recently we found out it should have had a 10″ put in,, the question is can I if I can find one put a 10″ tank on this bowl???

  27. One of my commodes was running. I went to a big box to get a repair kit. The guy that worked there told me which one I needed. I said, “this does not look to be the right size”. He said, “no, it’s universal & will fit. My commode is an Eljer, probably original to this 1964 house. In attempting to make it fit I broke the original piece that fits under the tank bolt. The bolt is rusty.I have to remove it to fit in the new one. I have tried Blaster which has loosened the top bolt, but no the bottom piece under the tank. I continually respray with Blaster, but no luck yet. Any ideas? I replaced the other 2 commodes with the Eljer repair kits with no problems. If I use a Drimmel tool where do I use it? It’s difficult to reach under the tank as its next to the wall?

  28. Caroline:

    You will have to post pictures or drawings so we can understand exactly what your situation is. You will probably not be able to remove a rusty bolt unless you can see the situation. Use flashlights and mirrors. The best solution is maybe to cut with a hack-saw blade. Takes time and effort. If you cut or grind off with any power tool, it will be very risky. Make sure you replace with special bolts and nuts that will NEVER rust – plastic or brass or something.

  29. I used a 10″ blade that cuts steel to cut the brass bolt off. I did not use a handle, just the blade slightly bent so it would fit under the bolt. The bottom wing nut had majorly corroded & could not be removed from the bolt. I replaced it with a new bolt & wing nut. The new kit comes with 2 washers, 2 seals, 1 nut, & 1 wing nut. I removed the original bolt & 2 waters; so I only used what I removed, the bolt & 2 washers (1 on the inside bottom of the tank & another on the outside bottom of the tank. It leaks.
    What did I do wrong? Also, the commode repair kit has another seal that goes on top of the plastic part that the brass bolt goes through. Maybe I should remove that seal, or not?

  30. Whenever I flush my upstairs toilet, my downstairs toilet overflows- I take the water out of the downstairs toilet ( manually with buckets) and it keeps filling up. We have had alot of rain lately ( sump pump is fine- basement where toilet is located is fine)but backyard has some standing water as most of the houses in the developement do. The water in the toilet seems to be a dark greenish color. Please can someone tell me what is going on?!

  31. We are having a problem with our toilet – the tank just has a trickle of water to refill it. We have to turn the water off at the shut-off valve, and turn back on again and that resets it and the water fills normally. Sometimes we have to turn the valve a few times to get it to ‘catch’. We have to stop at just the right spot, not too much or too little. Very occasionally it just refills on it’s own like it should.

    Is this a problem with the shut off valve, or is it with the internal parts? Thank you for any help!

  32. I have an Older toilet. a Modern Fluid master w/ Flapper won’t work the drain hole is too close to the tower. The darn thing runs and runs.. you flush it & Have to stand there and make sure the old flapper valve settles correctly.. this is becoming a real Pain!
    other than going through replacing the entire toilet, closet flange etc do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks.. Sarah

  33. My house is three years old. Right away, one toilet became very hard to flush. The toilet does not have the chain and flapper, but a plastic rod and a single piece that lifts with the red, waxy-looking seal at the bottom. It became harder and harder to flush and, inevitably, broke. I have to pull up on the mechanism to flush and even that is very hard to lift. I can see why the rod to the handle broke! My other toilet, identical to this one, flushes easily with a light touch. In comparison, the red “seal” on the good toilet looks solid, where the one on the broken toilet looks almost melted on the outside edge. WHAT do I need to replace? Should I remove the entire center piece and take it to the store and show them what I need? The toilet is a Mansfield No. 160, if that helps.

  34. I replaced the whole flush system and the toilet work fine but about every 2 hours the toilet runs like it is filling up sounds. What is wrong and how do I adjust it. The water level is about 1 inch below the valve tube so that shouldn’t be the problem. Please help. Thank you, Pat

  35. I replaced the tank to bowl seal on my tolet and when in the process of reinstalling the intake assembly promptly broke a piece of it. I installed a new one but now cannot get it to stop leaking from the intake. I’m really baffled because there are only two nuts to tighten. One is metal and the other is plastic. I’m afraid if I tighten one too much the plastic one will break or maybe I’ll crack the porcelain. Any sugestions? Thanks.

  36. My toilet is so hard to flush that it actually hurts my hand. We’ve had to replace the handle since it broke in half. We don’t know what to do now?? I am afraid this handle is also going to break.

  37. I went to replace the entire flush mechanism on my toilet. I removed the tank and was (too) vigorously cleaning the tank hole (on the bowl side where the tank sits). The hole had a dollop of white silicone caulk in a small (about 1/4″ in diameter) that was in the tank hole, which I knocked out while cleaning. What does this caulk do? Is it sealing a defect in the tank hole? Should I replace the caulk, or is it OK to let it be open? My toilet is a Mansfield (basic toilet).

  38. Claudia,
    The flapper valves come in differant shapes and sizes. You may be dealing with the wrong shape of flapper valve to seal your toilet. It is an easy fix if you knew what the valve shape was that you removed. Try to figure out the depth of the valve and thickness that you need for a good seal.

  39. HELP,,, hour long project is 4 hours old as of now,,,,,,,,, wing nut on toilet tank is frozen with rust (did the WD40 trick) or it was put on wrong in the first place, now what???????????? Thank you for any information on this matter. Jeane’

  40. To Kent:
    RE POST: November 24th, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Just curious…I have the same exact issue. I have been working on fixing this problem now for two years! I have been unsuccessful, thus far.

    Have you been able to solve this issue? What did you do?


  41. Hi

    Hopefully this is the right area for this question. I have recently replaced the inlet valve however Ive now found a small hole at the bottom of the cistern tank which leaks water over the floor. Is there a way of fixing the hole in the tank ( close to the base of the Inlet Value) or should i be looking for a brand new toilet cistern set..

    Any help is much appreciated.

  42. i have 2 toilets, upstairs and downstairs. a baby recently flushed toys down the downstairs toilet, and now whenever we flush upstairs, use the bathtub, or use the washing machine (which is downstairs), the downstairs toiler overflows.

    please help, its ruining our house, and we cant afford a plumber at the moment, times are very hard.

    any help would be amazing, thank you.
    email me @ with any advice.

    thank you.

  43. Hi Gina,
    Sounds like the toy is caught in the drain downstream from the downstairs toilet. If you’ve tried using a drain auger down the toilet to remove the toy with no luck, check under the house or in the basement to see if you have a cleanout plug near it in the drain line. If so, unscrew the plug, and use the auger to see if you can pull the toy out (be sure no one flushes a toilet or turns on a faucet while you’re working on it!). If there isn’t handy access to the drain line, you’ll have to remove the downstairs toilet and see if you can fish it out from there. See our article on How to Remove and Replace a Toilet for more on it.

  44. Exact same problem as Kathryn September 6 2008 12:17pm. Same toilet as well, does anyone know what to do with this problem. Is there some type of replacement, I’ve gone through 3 different handles none of them working.

  45. Robert (Nov 17),

    Hi, I have the same question as you. I went to replace the guts in my tank (trying to fix a double flush) and found the same hole filled with caulk. I also have a mansfield toilet. Have you figured out why it is there? I’ve searched the internet high and low and can’t find an answer. Thanks

  46. I have a problem with my toilet not flushing properly. When you flush, the water comes up to the rim of the bowl and will not completely drain. I have tried cleanout products safe for toilets, septic tank solutions, even Dawn dishwashing soap thinking it is a clog but nothing seems to help. When I take 2 gal buckets of hot water and use to flush the toilet 4 or 5 times in a row, the toilet seems to flush normally after for a time or two. But then the next flushes bring the water up to the rim again. Solution?

  47. My toilet periodically overflows, I have put a snake through the line. I am so irritated; should I repplace the toilet? I have city water.

  48. I have a problem with leaks in my commode tank. I changed the bolts and installed new gaskets along with the bolts.
    The leaks continue around the bolts. I’ve tightened them as much as I can. I’m hopeing after awhile the seals will become swollen from being in the water and the leaks will stop. Any suggestions?

  49. After installing a new toilet, I overtightened the bolts attaching the tank to the bowl, and cracked the tank. I bought a new tank (not the same MFG as cracked one..I couldn’t find one) at Home Depot. All of the holes lined up, and it seems to be a perfect match, but after installing the new tank, I have a small leak from the center drain hole, which leaks out onto the floor. I tried replacing the donut gasket, and I tried tightening the two bolts, even though I was afraid to crack the tank again. Any suggestions as to how I can fix this leak? Thank You!

  50. Thank you so much for your helpful advice! and the pictures!!! What I thought was going to be hundreds of dollars in repair ended up onluy being $5.50 🙂 Thanks again!

  51. I have an old 1950’s vintage American Standard toilet which has worked fine for all these years, with some minor plumber repairs. A few days ago the tank stopped filling up after flushing. I used a basement toilet directly below this one, flushed it and suddently the tank upstairs filled just fine. Similarly, I can get it to fill if I turn on the bathtub faucet in that bathroom and even the outside faucet to water the lawn. I suspected the fill valve may be weak/bad, so I bought a Fluidmaster replacement. When I went to install it, I see that on my toilet there is no overflow tube mechanism at all–the flapper has a short black tube attached to it but it is completely submerged and the current fill valve has no rubber tube emptying into an overflow tube as the Fluidmaster diagream shows.

    Is the problem likely the fill valve and if so, is there a replacement kit or parts available for this type of mechanism or ??? Thanks!

  52. I live in a rental when we moved in the commode ran constantly. We used the shut off valve to turn the water supply on and off. Now, the water supply broke. I have to ask the landlord to fix anything right now becuase I was only able to pay her half the rent until money comes in from my extra summer job? How can I turn this off? I tried a wrench this morning, but it wouldn’t tighten.

  53. We had to replace our bathroom floor. When the commode was replaced, it was over about 1 1/2 inches from where it was the last time the floor was replaced, about23 years ago. Before it was moved this time, it flushed with no problem. Now it acts like it doesn,t want to go down. There is usually paper that comes back up. Is it possible to replace it incorrectly and not have it over the hole to the cesspool exactly as it should be and cause this problem? If you have had this happen to you, or know what is going on and how to correct it, I could certainly use the information. Thanks in advance for any info anyone can give me.

  54. I have a toilet problem I haven’t been able to find any info on at all. My toilet, (cant find any brand name, but it looks like a normal toilet), was made in 1942-(date on inside of tank lid). It’s a 2 piece toilet, but it has no bolts holding the tank to the bowl. Instead, there’s a screw in the middle of the flapper valve orifice that appears to be linked to a piece of metal that must fit into some kind of structure in the body of the bowl, so that when the screw is tightened, it pulls the tank closer to the bowl. The tank is leaking between it and the bowl, so I’m guessing the gasket must be bad, but I’m a reluctant to pull the tank off for fear there’s a gasket on it that I wont be able to find a replacement for at the hardware store.Has anyone reading this had any experience with these types of toilets ? I’ve probably spent over an hour searching for web info, and asked every hardware store clerk with knowledge in this area if they knew anything about this, but no one has. Any info anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated…

  55. To Jessica, Kathryn and Sue,
    It sounds like you have a Mansfield toilet with the red rubber gasket at the bottom of the flush valve float (whitish plastic with a bell looking bottom that seals to the red gasket). The red gasket gets deformed and soft over time and the cup of the plastic bell float tends to lip over and get stuck on this gasket. Replace the red gasket at the bottom of the tank and that should take care of your problem.
    IF ….the tank is/was constantly running before of after you have replaced this gasket and its not overfilling thru the overfill tube, take the bell shaped float out of the toilet by removing the plastic screw on top and pulling out the float tube, the flush handle will come up with this so then twist the float away from the handle so it will let go of the handle as it goes up and out of the toilet. The problem is that the bottom of the bell on the float valve becomes out of shape and slightly warped so it is no longer sitting flush to the gasket. Take 1/2 sheet of 100 grit or fine sandpaper and lay it on a FLAT even surface, like a tabletop and resurface the bottom plastic bell mouth by dragging it with medium/light pressure along the sandpaper a few times only, just enough to take out any defect. Make sure the surface you do this on is very flat.
    If you feel the bottom edge first it will be smooth, after a pass on the sandpaper you feel the slightly rougher area and some smooth areas, thats where the warp is. Make another pass or two on the paper till it feels evenly rough all the way around. Feel the edge again to make sure there are no uneven bumpy spots and lightly sand those if there are any. You are only taking of Micrometers of the platic bell float but thats enough to make it run/leak constantly. That should take care of the running toilet and any hard lifting handles.

  56. When I flush my toilet, it literally shrieks. I assume that means there’s air in the lines (I’ve heard that phrase before) but have no idea what to do about it. Help!

  57. The water in my toilet bowl is going away between flushes. The toilet flushes properly and when you return later the water is gone from bowl. And the is a sewer smell almost all the time.

    • Hi Mitchell,
      It sounds like the toilet drain might not be vented properly. If it’s connected to a vent pipe on your roof, check it to be sure the pipe isn’t blocked. If there isn’t a vent pipe for the toilet, you need to add one. Here’s some more information on How to Position a Vent Pipe. Anybody else have any ideas?

  58. Hi,

    When I flush my toilet, it makes a very (VERY) loud vibrating noise. Originally it only used to do this occasionally, but now it’s doing it every time. Any idea what could be causing this? I would like to have a go at sorting it out myself if possible; my toilet’s flush is a button on top of the toilet, however, and I’m a little wary of lifting the cistern lid off in case I damage something. Would love some advice if you have any!

  59. hi, my house was built in 1942. poured concrete with raised hard wood main bath, toilet is sinking through floor. tiles are cracking. I dont know what king of repair person to call. i dont have alot of money. i dont think i can do this myself. toilet is already really loose. I am starting to worry. i have a septic system. any suggestions? i am in fort myers fla. does anyone know anyone resonable that can handle this.

  60. We have a tri-level home with the toilets being right above each other. When we flush the upstairs toilet, the downstairs toilet will bubble and will clog. We have to flush the upstairs toilet in order for the downstairs to unplug. We just snaked the vent on the roof, and all the pipes out to the street. We are very frustrated!! Do you think it could be the cheap toilet by American Standard or what could it be?

    • Hi Kristy,
      Sounds like an obstruction in the drain pipe or a pipe that wasn’t installed or vented properly. You might try having a plumber run an inspection camera through the pipes to see what is causing it.

  61. Hi there, i need to change the siphon in my toilet, to do this I need to take the cistern off the wall to gain access to the fitting, however after removing the screws holding the cistern to the wall I found I cannot remove it as whoever installed it decided to stick it to the tiles with some sort of adhesive! Now I can’t fix the flush problem without taking this off, which seems impossible without risk of cracking or breaking the cistern! Any ideas would be very welcome!?? Many thanks

  62. I have a problem trying to remove the nuts from the bolt on the toilet base and they seem frozen together. can you tell me how to remove them? i am replacing the wax bowl ring.
    thank you kathy

    • Hi Kathy,
      Apply a lubricant, like Liquid Wrench, to the nut and bolt and allow it to soak into the threads overnight. Be sure to turn the nuts in a counter-clockwise direction to loosen them. If they still won’t budge, you might have to cut the bolts off and replace them (buy stainless steel or brass bolts to prevent this problem in the future). If the toilet flange has slots in it for the bolts, it will be easy to install new ones.

  63. My parent’s toilet will not flush all the way unless a cup of water is poured in while it’s flushing. The water in the tank does not seem to be leaking and it is at the proper level.
    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Jennifer,
      It sounds like either your bowl is not refilling all the way after it’s flushed or the water level in your tank is set too low. Check to see that the water level in the tank fills up to just below the top of the overflow pipe, and that the plastic tube in the tank that refills the bowl is positioned so that water from it flows into the overflow tube.

    • Jennifer,
      How about the bowl, does it refill to its highest level after a flush? You can tell by continuing to slowly add water directly to the bowl to see if the level in it continues to rise. It will peak out when it reaches the level of the trap and won’t go any higher. I’m surprised that adding just a cup of water would be enough to make a difference in how it flushes. Other than that, all I can say is that some models of toilets flush better than others.

  64. My toilet problem is a deafeningly loud noise and vibration when the handle is pulled for flushing. The noise continues until the tank is filled. If the cold water tap is turned on then the noise stops but starts again when the tap is turned off if the tank hasn’t fully filled. The noise terrifies my grandchildren and startles visitors.

  65. I have a two storeyed home with a toilet on each floor. The toilets seem to sporadically overflow. It is not because of too much paper because it happens even when you have not used the toilet for days. When you flush, everything goes down and then it almost feels like it pulled a vacuum and it all comes back up and starts overflowing. After this happens I hear some knocking sounds in the pipes. A few hours later, the water drains down and the toilet flushes fine. My problem is that everytime the plumber comes in he flushes it 10 times and says I cannot fix it if it is working allright! Could it be the vents or is it the toilets. Nothing else is plugging, just the toilets have this weird behavior. Thanks!

    • Hi Bascar,
      I think you’re on the right track to check the vent pipe to see if it’s blocked. If it is, it’s odd that it doesn’t back up every time though. I assume it’s the downstairs toilet that’s overflowing, so you might also want to look at the drain downstream from where the upstairs and downstairs toilet drains connect. It could be clogging up there, then backflowing to the lower of the two toilets. The water pressure in the pipe could then be pushing out the clog and freeing it. A good plumber can run a camera down the drain to check for any obstructions.

  66. Thanks for your reply Ben. It would have been an easy diagnosis if it was just the downsatirs toilet. Unfortunately, both toilets overflow…again, not at the same time. If it is the one upstairs this week, it is the other one next week. I had another company look at it yesterday and they ran an auger in the main sewer line. They suspect that the pipe has bellied between the cleanout and the main coupling. But, if that really was the issue wouldn’t all of them overflow when the line is clogged? How is it that one overflows and the other toilets, sinks etc run just fine? The suspected belly is downstream of the coupling where all drain lines meet. I have scheduled a camera inspection for next week and also have plans to get a guy up the roof to check the plumbing vents…..will let you know how it goes. Thanks again.

    • Hi Bascar,
      I have to admit, I’m scratching my head over this one. If the clog is in the main drain leading from the house to the sewer, it should back up all the fixtures in the house, starting with the ones that are the lowest on the first floor. It’s unusual that the clogs would migrate from one fixture to another. Let us know if they figure out what the problem is. Good luck!

  67. When we flush the upstairs toilet, the bowl water in the downstairs toilet drains out. Also, there is a sewer smell in the basement. This has been going on for a couple weeks. What could be causing this?

  68. After flushing my tolet – I hear constant dripping sounds in the tank.. I have checked the seals and tried the dye – to see if there is any leakage (and there isn’t)… any thoughts?… Thanks Sue

  69. Here’s the update:
    I got a camera inspection done in the main sewer line. We did see a place where the concrete pipe has collapsed (70% block) and at another location where there was a tree root going right through the middle of the cast iron pipe. I am still a bit stumped because both the partial blocks are downstream of a coupling and everything in the home ties in upstream of this coupling! I asked the plumber who came out as to why one toilet drains fine when the other one is stopped. His diagnosis – The stop occurs when material has accumulated over several days around the two blocks. Water can still flow but it just needs some time. When there is enough material to cause a stoppage, it stops the toilet just when you flush. Over the next few hours, the water drains, paper and material disintegrate and the toilets flush again. The reason why the other toilet flushes properly during this time is that there is no 100% stoppage. The water that was supposed to drain has now accumulated in the bowl. For the second toilet, the line downstream is still clear!
    Personally, I am still not very clear about all this. I am not a plumber but being an engineer, I am still not too satisfied about the diagnosis. Maybe you can decipher more from this. Thanks Ben.

    • Hi Bascar,
      The partial blockage of the drain line makes sense. I had a similar situation with a drain line from a clothes washer that would cause the washer drain to back up and overflow about every year or so. When they looked in the drain pipe, there was a spot where two pipes didn’t meet smoothly that was snagging lint from the washer and slowly building up over time until it reduced the size of the drain enough to cause the washer to back up and overflow. When there was enough back pressure, it would flush the clog out. I’m still not sure why one of your toilets would flush while one backs up. Perhaps the one that flushes uses a lot less water to flush than the one that backs up? It sounds like getting the two blockages in the drain repaired might solve your problem. Good luck!

  70. I wish it was as simple as it sounds. Apparently, there are two options to get the line replaced. One is by tunneling under the house for about 25 ft for a depth of 6 ft to remove the old cast iron pipe. The concrete drive way outside the house will have to be torn open too. The first quote I received was a whopping $10775. Another plumber has looked at it and said that there is no need for tunneling. As it is a pier and beam house, the old pipe can be abandoned in place and a new one can be installed with the city requirement of 1/4″ drop per foot. Don’t know how much cheaper that would be but I am expecting to let go of a big chunk out of my wallet.

  71. Ben,
    I finally got the entire pipe replaced from the house to the city. I got the green sheet from the city inspector and it is all done! I have some good pictures……wish I could share them with you.


  72. Hi, thanks for the info, the problem we have with the toilet is that although it does flush you have to push it down repeatedly to sort of get it geared up to flush. I dont know much about toilets but is there anyway to fix this?
    Any help would be massively appreciated as I just cant afford to get someone out right now,

    Many thanks and kind regards,

  73. My Mansfield 160 flushes but there is no or little syphon action and the water will not go down the drain. This is a new instalation because the old tolet did the same thing. Have no idea where to look.

    • Hi Jim,
      I’d start by checking to see if the toilet has a roof vent located at or near the toilet, and look down it from the roof with a flashlight or inspection camera to be sure it’s not blocked. Good luck with your project!

  74. I have a mansfield 160 — got a new kit to replace toilet but parts are flapper and so forth where previously it had a valve mechanism…….can I relace and use this or do I need to go back to hardware and try and find correct parts?

  75. I have the same question as Robert. “Robert Says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 21:43
    I went to replace the entire flush mechanism on my toilet. I removed the tank and was (too) vigorously cleaning the tank hole (on the bowl side where the tank sits). The hole had a dollop of white silicone caulk in a small (about 1/4″ in diameter) that was in the tank hole, which I knocked out while cleaning. What does this caulk do? Is it sealing a defect in the tank hole? Should I replace the caulk, or is it OK to let it be open? My toilet is a Mansfield (basic toilet).
    I need the smae answer. Thanks

  76. I have the same issue as s2kfixit from December 12th, 2007 at 19:35 and I also have a Gerber toilet. I used the kit shown above in your photos. And I have tried at least five different spud gaskets! I have taken this thing apart and put it back together probably 2 dozen times over the last several days! At least I now have it down to drips instead of gushes, but the drips appear to be coming from the bolts now??? No cracks…yet…unless I rip it out of the floor and throw it into the yard…then there may be a crack or two. HELP!!!

  77. Danny HELP!!!
    My problem is I keep breaking my toilet handles off. Generally about one month prior to the actual snap the handle becomes harder and harder to push down.
    I have tried loosening the handle lug nut…to no avail
    I have tried moving chain assembly further down the lever for more leverage and still keep breaking them off.
    I’ve taken the lid off and noticed that where the lever goes thru to flush also is difficult to lift from time to time.
    Can you help me?

  78. Danny-
    We went away on vacation for 10 days and made sure to shut off the water to both of our toilets at the wall valve before we left. Now we are back home and have turned the water back on, but one of the toilets keep running. It’s leaking via the flapper, but the entire inner workings of the toilet were replaced a year ago-flapper included. Any clues? If I put weight on the flapper it stops running, but the moment I let go, it starts up.

    • Hi Dana,
      Flapper valves can warp over time, so your best bet is to replace it. It’s inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. Good luck with your project!

  79. please help.why is it every time i flush the toilet it overflows and the only way to stop it is to turn on the cold water tap which is near the toilet.that stops it 9 times out of 10.

  80. We had the floors replaced in our bathroom. Later we found that the bottom of the toilet was broken where it attaches to the drain hole. When I removed the toilet, I noticed that the drain hole is lower than the flooring. Should not the drain hole and the floor be a the same level? Is there something that I can do to raise the drain connection?

    • Hi John,
      A toilet usually has a plastic or metal flange around the drain that rests on top of the floor. The bolts that hold the toilet to the floor are then slipped into the slots on the flange, run through the base of the toilet bowl, and tightened. If possible, you should try to raise the flange up or replace it if it’s broken. Since a moldable wax ring is used to seal the toilet bowl to the drain, it may be possible for it to bridge the gap between the two, but it’s not the best solution. Good luck with your project!

  81. If you are having problems with toilets not flushing properly and you have all your drains working right, it may be the venting system is plugged. Climb up on the roof with your hose and give them a good forced washout. Most hardware stores have an attachment to the hose that swells up and clogs the vent pipe so the water is forced in the pipe and doesn’t backwash.

    I also have a friend that actually had a toilet that was worn out. I told him that there was not much to them but the toilet was completely pulled and had no clogs and a new one installed and it has worked great ever since. I didn’t think that was possible.

  82. I have a toilet with the floating ball determining the water level. It was working fine until the plastic line connecting the flapper to the arm broke. no problem.. replace the flapper. Shut the water to the toilet, replaced the flapper, turned on the water back on, refilled the tank, flushed the toilet. The toilet flushed, but did not refill. No water running at all. Any ideas? Please help!!!

    • Hi Fern,
      It’s hard to say what’s wrong without seeing it, but start by checking your cut-off valve again to make sure water is coming in. If that doesn’t work, try moving the float arm up and down to see if the float or filling mechanism might be stuck. If still no luck, the problem is probably either with the cut-off valve or float mechanism. You could either replace the fill mechanism and see if that fixes it, or turn off the cut-off valve, unscrew the supply line from the bottom of the tank, and slightly open the cut-off valve to see if water comes out. If it does, you know the problem is with the fill mechanism. Good luck with your project!

  83. okay this is weird my toilet all of a sudden wont flush we have plunged it, snaked it, used clogg remover, and still nothing. so we decided to take the toilet up and check under it and when we tilted the toilet to the side to see down the pipe the toilet flushed well the water went down, so then we thought maybe there was a clogg in the toilet but there was nothing, so we put the toilet back down on floor and still the water wouldn’t go down, so we decided to tilt the toilet a little again and what do you know the water went down so then we put it all back together and if hold the handle down it will sometimes flush and will always release the water with the toilet tilted to the side what is up with my toilet please help me

  84. Another reason you have to hold the handle down to flush your toilet is because the lifting arm may be hitting the tank lid before the flapper valve is lifted completely, allowing the flapper to drop prematurely. In short, you have premature t-flapulation. To fix, loosen the flush handle and rotate it so the end of the lifting arm is lower (closer to the flapper). Adjust the chain to remove excess slack. Problem should be solved without use of pills or other supplements.

  85. We are trying to replace our toilet and need a 10″rough in toilet. We have looked everywhere and are unable to find anything but a 12″-the only 10″ ones we can find are online and must be ordered and are very expensive. We are not wanting to spend a lot of money. Any good suggestions? And just out of curiosity, why is it so hard to find a toilet wiht a 10″ rough in?

  86. I replaced flapper in two Kohler toilets as the lever
    or handle stayed down when flushed. After replacing I
    still have the same problem. In another bathroom I replaced
    flapper and it works fine however now I have a leak by shut
    off valve.

  87. I am replacing a flush valve on a Mansfield 160. I got the tank off and noticed that nut holding the valve was round with very little ridges on it and not hex shaped. I can’t get it off. Is there a special tool to take this off or is this permenantly attached to my toilet. I have no dea how to get it off. Help

  88. For all those people with GERBER toilets!!!!!
    If, after you have changed the gasket under the tank, you find that water gushes out between the tank and the bowl when you flush, the problem is the gasket. GERBER toilets require a thicker gasket than normal. The universal gaskets will not work. You will need to purchase a gasket specifically made for Gerber toilets from a plumbing supply store (not Home Depot or Lowes).

  89. We’re in a rental unit and both toilets have a tendency to flood. It happens within seconds, with no warning, and we’re talking gallons of water. The super has evaluated the situation, replaced internal mechanisms, and snaked the lines. There’s apparently no blockage. He says there’s nothing else he can do. The wood floors outside the bathrooms are already warped, evidence the apartment has a history with this problem. We’re currently leaving the lids off the tanks so we can grab the big bubble thing and lift it to shut off the inflow of water. Aren’t toilets supposed to have overflow protection? Short of replacing these toilets with some kind of tankless model or other drastic measures (at our expense) is there any way to make these more reliable? Would low-density toilet paper help? We’re using Charmin. Thank you for any ideas.

    • Hi Demetria,
      There’s not really any overflow protection on a toilet, as anyone who’s flushed a toilet that has a clogged drain can attest; but unless there’s a clog in the drain or too much water from other apartments going down an undersized drain at the same time, your toilet shouldn’t overflow when you flush it. I would insist that the toilet or drain lines be fixed properly. In many areas renters have rights regarding living conditions that must be met, so you might want to check with the city if you can’t get satisfaction from your landlord.

  90. I have same issue as Sue had back in April and no one responded to her question. I really need your advice, and a response please. Toilet in apt still has a constant dripping sound, even after replacement of flapper&seal by maint person. I did the dye test, but NO dye in bowl. I did the pencil test,turned water off overnite to see if level changed. Prior to new flapper, it was lower. But now after repair, the water level in tank remains unchanged. Also the water now stops a bit below the marker on the refill tube.
    To conclude, the dripping sound is still heard; more loudly and faster? after you flush. and the dye test did not indicate internal leak, but no water anywhere outside the toilet?? The apt owner threw up his hands when I tried to share what I’ve learned and his solution is to replace the tank. ? Sounds drastic,but does that make sense to you, especially if the leak,maybe? has to do with the water coming from the city supply into the inside. Your thoughts please, on the sanest thing to do. Thanks for your time.

  91. There was a water main break on our street 2 weeks ago. We woke in the mornning and had no running water. After they fixed it and had turned the water back on, I can now hear the water running through the pipes very loudly whenever i flush the upstairs toilet. Also get very little cold water pressure in the shower. Hot water is fine. Also if the toilet is filling up and i turn the cold water in the sink on the noise gets even louder. Any ideas?

  92. When I try to flush my toilet it is too hard to flush. It seems there is too much suction and I have to take the top off to loosen it up in order to flush. Is there a way to fix this suction problem?

  93. Hello, my toilet makes a noise every 60 seconds that lasts no longer than 2 seconds. It’s not a full flushing sound, just like water turns on, then off. I looked under the lid for the water tank, and the fluid master seems to push down a tiny bit and it bubbles some and the water in the tank moves some. It’s so annoying! Why does it do that? Plumbers just replaced the fluidmaster.

  94. We have a Mansfield 160 toilet. It’s 6 years old. We’ve been having trouble with it for the last 4 months or so. The fill valve part is very noisy and it’s taking 1 min. 40 seconds to fill the tank.

    I’ve taken off the top of the back. The flush valve/flapper (which is quite different than any other type of toilet I’ve seen) is closing properly.

    Do I need to replace the fill valve? Is there another valve that would work better? Is there a quieter one that is compatible with my toilet? Can I only use Mansfield valves? Is this the normal life span of the valve?

    Thank you for your help!

  95. My toilet is leaking under the tank. It appears to be leaking from either one or both of the long bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. It could be the middle gasket piece, between the tank and bowl, I’m not sure. I turned the water supply off and have been flushing by pouring a bucket of water in the bowl. But it is still leaking a lot, sometimes nearly a half bucket or slightly more over several hours. I thought of removing the tank completely to get the gasket out between the tank and bowl so I can get a kit with the right size, but now I’m afraid that if i take the tank off and pour water in the bowl to flush it will run all over the floor. I don’t understand how it can leak from under the tank with the water cut off?

  96. Hey there.
    My husband and I bought our house about a year and a half ago. We’ve had to replace the wax ring in the master toilet upstairs (as well as part of the ceiling downstairs from the leak) and haven’t really had any problems since. But, all of a sudden, any time my husband goes to the bathroom and flushes the toilet (whether it’s the toilet downstairs or the master toilet upstairs), there’s a loud knocking noise in the ceiling (when downstairs) or in the floor (when we’re upstairs). The knocking is usually in the same place and it usually stops after whatever toilet flushed finishes filling back up with water. However, there is no leaking in any of them and it usually only does it on the first flush and then doesn’t happen again for a couple of days. We can’t figure out what’s wrong since there’s no leak anywhere that we can see or feel. We don’t want to call a plumber as we doubt that we’d be able to get it to start knocking again because it doesn’t happen too often. Any advice?

  97. Kim,

    This sounds like what was happening with our toilet. I replaced the fill valve and now it’s quiet again. Open up the back of the toilet and flush it. I’ll bet the noise is coming from there, on the left-hand side.

  98. Sue,

    Thanks! I’ll give that a shot. Do you think it’s the same thing on both toilets, though? The knocking doesn’t seem to be coming from the toilets and I thought it to be a little strange for it to be doing it with a toilet upstairs and a toilet downstairs only a couple of days apart. It sounds like it’s coming from the ceiling/floor in between the first and second floor. I could be wrong, though. I’ll have to check out the toilet that does it next.
    Hopefully it’s not anything major. It seems any time we get ahead, something breaks.

    Thanks again,

  99. Kim,

    When the fill valve was failing in my toilet, it sounded as if it were in the walls too. Then, I thought to open the back of the toilet and check. All that noise was coming from that fill valve. I would check that first, before calling a plumber. You can replace a fill valve yourself for under $20 and only 15-20 minutes of your time.


  100. I have a plumbing problem. I put red dye in the toilet and flush and I noticed redish color water going into my sump pump well. Also, there seems to be a lot of water coming into my sump well and it we haven’t had a lot of rain.

    After I went number2 in to toilet and flushed it didn’t look or smell like that went into the sump well.

    Any idea what’s going on?

  101. How can I keep the emergency water cut offs under the sink and the commode from getting impossible to turn. Is there a lubricant I can use?

  102. My toilet flushes too vigorously. The quantity of water used for flushing seems a lot and the flow looks like a waterfall. It splashes the water all around, including the rim of the bowl, outside it and sometimes even on the person standi g next to it. The bowl is small. I don’t think it needs so much water for flushing it’s content. What should I do to fix this. Please help!

  103. We had a running toilet and my husband had to replace everything in the toilet like the last part of the video showed. However, now there is a gushing of water coming from the JTube every minute. We can’t figure out why it is doing this. Please help.


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