DIY 101 – Your Easiest Guide on How To Repair a Broken Flush Valve
There’s no denying that a leaking valve is easily one of the messiest bathroom problems a homeowner can run into. The incessant dripping is not only grossly irksome but also unhygienic and a sign of irresponsibility and sloppiness on your part. However, the best thing about such a situation is that you can always repair/fix the broken valve(s) yourself and save a couple of hundred bucks you would probably have to shell out for a plumber.
But How Can You Tell That Your Flush Valve (and not any other part) is Broken?
Well, first things first. If water starts to leak from the toilet tank ( reservoir ) into the bowl, then chances are the flush valve either extremely worn out or simply broken. Once you have isolated this problem, the next logical step is to stop the leak by replacing the valve with a new/functional one.
Remember that you can easily purchase a new flush valve and an accompanying replacement flapper from a nearby bathroom appliance store for a couple of dollars or order them online. Otherwise, you will also need some sponge and a few hand towels to get the job done. The next step to gather the mechanical tools you will need for this task. This includes;
- An adjustable pipe wrench
- Large Slotted Screwdriver
- Channel-Locking Pliers
After that, the rest is simple and straightforward as long as you can follow this few steps.
1. Start by Removing The Lid From The Tank
This is one is pretty obvious. You can’t access the valve without lifting off the lid that covers the reservoir. You can use the pair of pliers to pry the locks open.
2. Shut off the Water
You can do this two ways. The first and the easiest is to turn off the gate valve to the pipe that supplies your ablution block with water. However, sometimes this gate valve can be hard to locate – especially if you just moved in.
The second way is by turning the shut-off valve located at the top of the cistern to cut off the water supply temporarily. This allows you to work on replacing the flush valve without worrying about the spilling water.
3. Drain the Water
Turning off the water is not enough. You still have to drain as much water as possible from the tank to afford the luxury of working without getting you hands and tools wet. You can go ahead and sponge or just towel out any remaining water from the cistern. A shop vac can also come in handy in such a situation.
4. Disconnect the Supply Tube/Hose from the Tank
Since you switched off the supply in step 2 above, this should be easy. It also allows you to disconnect the flapper chain from the adjoining tank lever arm conveniently and also to disconnect the outer refill tube attached on top of the overflow pipe.
5. Remove The Tank off the Bowl
This one is a bit technical, and this is where you’re high school physics mechanics is tested.
If you look keenly underneath the tank, you’re likely to see the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl. Unscrew these using the long slotted screwdriver. You might want to spray a bit of penetrating oil here to make things a little bit easier. Additionally, you will also have to use the screwdriver to reach over to the bolts and keep them from turning as you unscrew the nuts using an adjustable wrench or spanner. After this, you can then pry them loose by hand.
Once the adjoining bolts are off, removing the bowl is as easy as taking it off and setting apart on a towel.
Fixing that annoying leaking flush valve only requires you to an afternoon off and save a decent amount of cash you would have otherwise used to hire a plumber for the job.
6. Remove and Replace the Worn Out Flush Valve
Taking off the tank exposes the worn out flush valve located underneath it. Remove the old one and replace with new one. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the tee while doing this.
7. Re-fit the Bowl and Flapper
Once the new valve is installed. Reattach the tank to the bowl the same way you took it off in the first place using the unscrewed nuts and bolts.
Once this is done, the rest can be accomplished in a span of minutes. This includes;
- Re-attaching the flapper chain to the adjoining flush lever arm.
- Re-attaching the previously removed fill tube to a new overflow pipe.
- Reconnect the water supply to the tank
- Turn on the gate valve, test the new valve to make sure that is working correctly while checking for leaks.
As you can see, fixing that annoying leaking flush valve only requires you to an afternoon off and save a decent amount of cash you would have otherwise used to hire a plumber for the job.