Your First DIY Homeowner Repair - Installing A New Toilet Flushing Kit

This is your first home and, while the previous owners took good care of it, you're starting to uncover little problems. The toilet keeps running after it's flushed until you jiggle the handle. This is a good way to get your "feet wet" with your first DIY project. Replacing the toilet flushing mechanism takes about an hour with simple household tools. Here is what you need to know to do this project and have your first DIY homeowner project scratched off of your list.

Supplies You'll Need

  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • channel lock pliers
  • knife or box cutter
  • old rags for cleanup
  • toilet repair kit (From the plumbing supplies department of your home improvement store)

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Shut off the water to the toilet using the valve against the wall behind the toilet.
  2. Flush the toilet and allow it to empty.
  3. Remove the lid to the toilet tank.
  4. Remove the standing water in the tank.
  5. Remove the water supply line connected to the flushing mechanism on the bottom outside of the tank.
  6. Inside of the tank, remove the chain connecting the flapper valve to the handle.
  7. Remove the short tube connecting the flushing mechanism to the large inlet tube attached to the bottom of the tank.
  8. Remove the flapper valve from the inlet tube.
  9. Unscrew the large plastic nut from the flushing mechanism on the outside bottom of the tank.
  10. Pull the old flushing mechanism out of the tank and discard.
  11. Wipe out the bottom of the tank, especially around the opening in which the flushing mechanism sits.
  12. Open the toilet kit and lay out all of the parts.
  13. Place the large rubber washer onto the bottom of the flushing mechanism.
  14. Place this tube down through the hole in the tank.
  15. Loosely secure the tube with the large plastic nut.
  16. Turn the flushing mechanism until the small water return tube lines up with the large inlet tube in the tank.
  17. Tighten the nut on the flushing mechanism until it is snug.
  18. Connect the small rubber tube in the kit to the water inlet tube on the flushing mechanism and onto the large inlet tube in the tank.
  19. Connect the new flapper valve to the base of the large inlet tube.
  20. Connect the chain from the handle to the flapper valve.
  21. Connect the water supply line from the wall to the bottom of the flushing mechanism outside of the tank on the bottom.
  22. Turn on the water and allow the tank to fill completely.

Knowing When You're In Over Your Head

A good homeowner knows when they have a problem that requires expert help. If you encounter any of the following problems, have a local plumber help with this project.

  • No water shutoff valve - In an older home with original plumbing, there may not be a shutoff valve to the toilet. You could turn off the water to the entire house and do this project. A better solution is to have a plumber install a shutoff valve to make future maintenance easier.
  • Corrosion prevents you from shutting off the valve - Even if there is a shutoff valve, corrosion can cause it to stick and make it hard to turn off. You'll want a plumber to install a new valve.