Easy Fixes for Common Toilet Problems

Learn how to make minor adjustments and repairs to your toilet

1-2 hours
Adjustments to Your Toilet

Toilets invariably need little tweaks or repairs over time. This guide will show you how to make some common adjustments. If these repairs don’t solve your problem, look at the Featured Articles menu for additional guides on replacing toilet parts, or even an entire toilet.

What You'll Need

Adjusting the chain for a better flush
Adjusting chain better flush - Minor Adjustments Your Toilet

If you have to hold the handle to flush all the water from the toilet tank:
• Remove any excess slack in the chain by hooking it on a different hole in the handle lever or by hooking it onto different links.
• Adjust the lift chain so it hangs straight from the handle lever with about 1/2 inch of slack.

Adjusting the tank handle
Adjust the tank handle - Minor Adjustments Your Toilet

If the handle has too much give or is too tight when flushing, use an adjustable wrench to adjust the nut inside the toilet.

Tip: Unlike other nuts and bolts, the threads on a tank handle are left-handed; tighten counterclockwise.

Adjusting the water level
Adjusting the water level - Minor Adjustments Your Toilet

If the water level is too low, it will cause the toilet to flush poorly. To adjust your toilet tank water level:
• If your toilet has a float arm, use the adjustment screw on top of the fill valve to raise or lower the float arm. Older float arms may not have an adjustment screw and should probably be replaced with a newer fill valve.
• To adjust the water level on toilets with float cylinders, squeeze the float clip to release the float cylinder and slide up or down to adjust the water level in the toilet tank.

Fix a loose toilet seat
Fix a loose toilet seat - Minor Adjustments Your Toilet

• To tighten the toilet seat, pry back the bolt caps. Then, using a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench, tighten the nut from below while holding the bolt steady with the screwdriver.
• If the toilet seat is still loose, it is probably time to replace it with a new one.

Replacing a flapper
Replacing a flapper - Minor Adjustments Your Toilet

A worn flapper valve can drive up water costs by allowing water to continually trickle from the toilet tank into the bowl. To replace your flapper:
• Turn off the water supply at the shutoff valve and flush the toilet.
• Remove the old flapper. If you don’t already know what kind of flapper you need, take your old flapper to your local Home Depot for help selecting the proper replacement.