Living March 13, 2023

How to Fix Your Toilet

A homeowner’s life is filled with mini hazards that pop up at a moment’s notice. Our appliances make life easier, but they are subject to malfunction. A broken toilet interrupts your day and can cause serious water damage, which emphasizes the importance of timely repairs. The following tips to fix your toilet will help you get your water system and your home life flowing properly again.

If these repairs are beyond your capabilities, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

Problem: there’s water around the base of the toilet

A leaking toilet can have you dealing with the perils of a water damage emergency in no time. If there’s water around the base of your toilet, that’s a telltale sign that the leak has sprung from the wax ring seal. You’ll have to remove your toilet to replace it.

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

  1. Use a wrench to disconnect the water supply from the shutoff valve. Drain the tank until all water is removed from the bowl.
  2. Disconnect the water supply valve from the toilet tank. Using a screwdriver and wrench, remove the caps on the base of the toilet and the hex bolts beneath them.
  3. Grab the toilet by the bottom and lift it from the ground. Set it aside on material that will prevent damage to your bathroom floor, like a towel or blanket.
  4. Remove the old wax gasket from the flange and install a new one on it by centering it on the flange and pressing it down into place.
  5. Reinstall the toilet by placing it on the bolt holes, keeping it level as you go. Use your weight to press down on the toilet bowl before putting the bolts back in. This helps to compress the new gasket. Caulk around the base of the toilet if needed.
  6. Reconnect the water supply to the shutoff valve and open it before giving your new toilet a test flush. If there are no leaks, you’re done!


A closeup shot of a man in a plaid shirt preparing to fix a toilet in a bathroom with white tile walls. He has the tank open and is getting ready to remove the toilet from the floor.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: photovs


Problem: the toilet won’t stop running

Another common issue homeowners face is a running toilet. The constant sound of running water coming from your bathroom isn’t just annoying; it wastes water and can cause spikes in your utility bills. A running toilet is typically due either to a faulty flapper or the water level being too high in the tank, causing overflow.

How to Fix a Running Toilet

  • The most common cause of a running toilet is that the flapper chain is caught on something. To check for this issue, take the top off the tank to see if the chain is too taught. If so, see if you can release it, after which the flapper should fall into place and stop the run.
  • If the flapper or the chain are compromised, they’ll need to be replaced. But no sweat, that’s easy! Start by shutting off the water supply and drain the tank by pulling up on the flapper chain. Remove the flapper by unhooking it or removing the ring that holds it in place. Pick up a new matching flapper at your local hardware store and reverse the process to install it and reconnect the chain. If this doesn’t solve your running toilet problem, it may be a larger issue, such as the flush valve.

Problem: the toilet isn’t flushing correctly

If your toilet isn’t flushing correctly, there’s likely something wrong with the flush handle or the water level, or it could be a clogging issue.

How to Fix Flushing Issues

  • Tighten the flush handle if it’s loose and see if that solves the problem. When you do, make sure the flush lever is working properly. If there’s too much slack in your lift chain, it won’t trigger a proper flush. Make sure it’s not too loose, but not so tight that it can’t flush properly either.

Problem: the toilet has started wobbling

Sometimes homeowners will suddenly notice their toilet feels uneven or is rocking slightly. This is usually because the flange that connects to the drainpipe is sitting higher than the floor.

How to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

  • The best fix is to wedge shims under the base of the toilet and caulk the area to solidify it.

For more tips on home maintenance, read the following blog post about controlling mold:

How to Prevent and Deal with Mold


­­­­­­Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: Fertnig