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How do toilets work?

By Francine L. Huff
How do toilets work?

You probably don't know anyone who doesn't use a toilet. Many of us take this necessary part of life for granted until it stops working properly. Here are some tips for toilet repair in your home.

How a Toilet Works

Basically, most toilets have a flush valve and a refill valve. If the flush valve stops working properly, water in the tank may leak into the toilet bowl. The refill valve allows water to go into the tank, and if it isn't working properly the tank can fill up too much. When you flush the toilet, the chain connected to the flush valve opens it and water flows out of a drain hole into the bowl. The water in the bowl runs into the siphon and down into the drain pipes.

Leaky Tanks

Understanding how a toilet works can help you with repairs. If you have water leaking under the tank, you may need to tighten the nuts that attach the bowl to the tank. In some cases the tank may be cracked and will have to be replaced.

Fix It Yourself

When water is leaking through the handle you may have to reposition the float ball. You can do that by slightly bending the float arm. Flush the tank to make sure enough water is going into the bowl. Some toilets have a metered fill valve so you would have to adjust the knob to lower the water level.

There are other toilet repair projects you could tackle, but in the end it may make more sense to just install a new toilet. You can buy a toilet for only a few hundred dollars and install it yourself or hire a plumber.

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