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Misc. Toilet Repairs

Replacing a Toilet Handle

how to use an adjustable wrench to replace a toilet lever

There are a number of reasons for replacing the handle on a toilet. For either cosmetic or functional reasons, the replacement is the same. Rarely can a handle be fixed if it is broken.

First make sure the problem is the handle or lever and not the chain or flapper. The lever should never hit the lid, so when adjusting the chain make sure the length is such that the flapper opens and closes fully with the lid on the tank.

If the handle is hard to turn, disconnect the chain and then test to see if the handle is still hard to turn. If not, the problem is at the flapper or ball and not the handle. If it's still hard to turn then the handle needs replacing.

Handles come in different lengths and shapes, so take the old handle with you to buy a replacement.

Replacing the handle on a toilet tank is not a difficult job, but it can be frustrating. That's because the nut on the inside of the tank is usually threaded in the reverse way to how we normally remove nuts. So to UNSCREW the nut, turn the nut CLOCKWISE.

Changing a Toilet Seat

Changing a toilet seat

When changing a toilet seat be very careful if the bolts are rusted and frozen. Apply liberal amounts of a penetrating lubricant on the bolts and allow to sit over night. Then use a long handled adjustable wrench.

NEVER hit the bolts with a hammer in an attempt to break them. The toilet is the only thing that will break!! As a last resort spray a lubricant on the top and bottoms of metal bolts. Then place a thin bladed putty knife between a hack saw blade and the china toilet bowl rim and saw through the bolts with the hack saw. Plastic bolts that become dethreaded will also need to be cut off with the hack saw.

Tank and Bowl Connection

For a larger view, click on drawing Showing toilet bowl and tank connection

There are a number of reasons for separating a tank from the toilet bowl.

---To replace a flush valve.
---Because of leaks between the tank and bowl
---To more easily lift a toilet bowl in order to replace the wax ring.
---To replace a cracked tank.

There are usually two or three bolts holding a tank and bowl together. Review the Toiletology 101 "anatomy" pages to get an idea of how the two pieces fit together. Turn the water supply off, then completely drain the tank and sponge up any water in the bottom. Disconnect the water supply line.

Use penetrating lubricant (LPS-1 or WD-40) on the nuts under the tank. Give the penetrating lubricant time to work...overnight if possible. Holding a large screwdriver on the head of the bolt inside the tank, turn the nut under the tank with an adjustable wrench. If the nuts refuse to come loose, you may have to resort to sawing through them with a hack saw. It's a tedious job, but it can be done. Once separated, you should find a cone shaped gasket and a tank cushion gasket. You will have gone to a lot of work to get this job done. I suggest that you replace all the washers, bolts and gaskets that you can with new ones; you must at the very least replace the washers and cone shaped gasket. Now is the time to install a new flush valve if you need one.

You'll need a tool called a "spud wrench" to undo the nut that holds the flush valve in place. When you go to buy a new flush valve make sure the overflow pipe is the same height as the original one. This is important. If the overflow pipe is too high, water will leak out of the hole for the handle and flood your house if the ballcock fails.

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Portable Toilet
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