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How to Fix a Leaky Toilet

Learn how to fix a leaky toilet in this Howcast plumbing repair video with Tim Flynn.


"I'm Tim Flynn and I'm the owner of Winters Plumbing and Heating in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Winters Company offers plumbing, heating, cooling. If you need service today; we're the business to call. My website is I'll be talking to you today about plumbing.

Is your toilet a rocking horse? Does it go like this, back and forth? It's not normal.

Okay a few tools you're going to need for yourself: First of all you're going to need a pair of pliers, an open-end wrench, a screwdriver, and something to scrape with, because we're going to be scraping some wax seal, and this is a chisel. Alright, now we're going to shut the water off. What we want to do is take this shut-off valve here, and we want to turn it to the right, right is tight. Now we're going to pop the caps off the base of the toilet, so basically you want to take the blade of the screwdriver and you want to just basically try to turn it so that it pops up. Now we're going to back the nuts off that hold the toilet to the flange. We have an adjustment wrench, we're going to take this nut, we're going to back it off, couple of turns, you want to take these off and set these to the side. Alright, so just for the sake of the safety effect, I want to move the tank cover and I want to set this aside, so, I don't need to lift this as I lift the toilet up off the floor.

Next thing I want to do is take the water out of the bowl, and you can do it a couple of different ways. You can take a sponge, and empty it into a bucket, you can use one of our bilge-pumps that we have for small boats. Now we're going to lift the toilet up off the flange, and we're going to set it down on the floor. Make sure we have something to set the toilet down on, like a big old beach towel that you don't ever want to see again.

Lifting is something you need to be really careful of, this is a very awkward object as much as its not that heavy. So as you can see, I've straddled the toilet, getting my whole body over the center of it. I'm standing over the toilet, I'm in the center of it, I'm going to get it straight then I'm going to rock it back and forth a little bit, then I'm going to lift it straight up. Go backwards, onto my rag.

Alright, now we're going to scrape the wax off the bottom of the toilet, and now I'm going to scrape the wax off the flange. Scrape it right off, drop it onto a paper towel, now we're going to put the new wax on the flange. Okay so what I have here is a wax donut, we use them to set toilets, they come sealed in a package. So you want to put it on top, and you want to mold it a little bit, so that it fits the surface and because this is already at room temperature it's a lot more pliable to use, and I'm going to take the bolts that come through the floor and make sure they're aiming straight up. So now we're going to re-set the toilet, and we want to get the toilet as close to our work as we can without dragging it across the floor so be really careful about that. Let it compress all the way down to the floor. We want to give it a little bit of movement, nice and solid. We snap on this plastic decorative cap so you don't see the hardware.

Alright, last step, here we go, we're going to connect the water back from the supply to the tank. Put it on the fill-valve nut, give it half a turn, that should be enough."

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