Cheap and easy bathroom fixes
IF your toilet won’t shut off, you can try jiggling the handle. It might work. When you get tired of that — and you will — it’s time for a more proactive approach, and that doesn’t always mean picking up the phone.
Flushing a toilet sends water from the tank through the siphon and rim holes to push water into the bowl through the integral trap. Residential toilets are remarkably simple, and most can be fixed for under R50. The trick is in diagnosing the problem.
Toilet types There are three main toilet types: gravity-flow, pressure-assist and a few older, silent-flush models. The last kind is best left to plumbers.
Gravity-flow toilets use head pressure, or the weight of the water in the tank to push the wastewater over the bowl’s integral trap. The taller the column of water, the greater the downward pressure.
All gravity-flow toilets have two main components: a fill valve that brings water into the tank, and a flush valve that sends water from the tank to the bowl.
When a toilet like this acts up, remove the tank lid and watch the flush. Most problems can be spotted readily.
Pressure-assist toilets use water pressure to compress and store air in a plastic tank. a burst of air is released with each flush, which helps clear the bowl.
These toilets require a different repair approach from the gravityflow models. A sluggish flush in a pressure-assist toilet can originate from a leaking flush valve or a fouled air inducer.
1. Intermittent running When a flush valve in a gravityflow toilet leaks, it causes the toilet to run intermittently.
To remove a defective tank ball, the traditional flush-valve design, shut off the water and unthread the ball from the lift wire. Run a finger around the valve seat to check for mineral build-up or pitting.
If the valve seat is not pitted but feels rough, scuff it with a scouring pad, then install a new tank ball.
Watch the tank ball fall onto the valve seat during several flushes. If it lands off-centre, adjust the liftwire guide to the right or left.
A flapper valve is an inexpensive fix for a leaky tank-ball flush valve.
Buy a conversion kit and remove the old lift wire and guide. Slide the mounting collar down the overflow tube.
Hook the flapper wings over the collar pegs and make sure the flap- per is centred over the valve seat. Then attach the flapper chain or ribbon to the flush lever.
a pitted valve seat cannot be repaired, so you’ll need to replace the valve or install a replacement seat.
To replace a flush valve or leaking spud (tank-to-bowl) gasket, you’ll need to remove the tank. Drain the tank and use a long screwdriver and adjustable wrench to remove the brass bolts at the bottom of the tank.
Lift the tank off, turn it upside down on the floor and use large pliers to remove the jamb nut that holds the valve in place.
Next, clean the area around the tank hole. Install the new flush valve with the valve offset oriented away from the fill valve. Coat the new gasket before mounting the tank on the bowl.
2. Continuous running If the toilet runs continuously in a faint trickle, look to the fill valve. In this case, the problem lies with the ball cock, a common valve that uses a float mounted on an arm to shut the valve when the tank water has reached the correct level.
Remove the diaphragm screws and look for sand or mineral grit
3. SLUGGISH FLUSH If your gravity-flow toilet flushes sluggishly, use a stiff wire to clean mineral build-up from the siphon hole in the bowl.
Ream the holes under the rim as well.
If your pressure-assist toilet flushes sluggishly, remove the tank lid and look for water around the top of the flush-valve cartridge. If you find water, replace the cartridge.
First, release internal pressure by turning off the water supply and holding the flush lever down for one minute. Insert plier handles into the top of the valve and back the cartridge out.
Check your owner’s manual to see if lubrication is required on the O-rings of the new cartridge.
If you don’t find water atop the flush-valve cartridge, assume that you have a fouled air inducer.
Undo the inducer’s large nut and remove the spring and poppet. Soak the poppet in vinegar for a few minutes, then roll it between your fingers to remove any mineral grit. Replace the parts and turn on the water. — Property24
If THE TOILET RUNS CONTINUOUSLY IN A FAINT TRICKLE, LOOK TO THE fill VALVE. IN THIS CASE, THE PROBLEM LIES WITH THE BALL COCK, A COMMON VALVE THAT USES A FLOAT MOUNTED ON AN ARM TO SHUT THE VALVE WHEN THE TANK WATER HAS REACHED THE CORRECT LEVEL.