Troubleshoot Your Toilet

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Crystal blue toilet installation

How your toilet works.

Crystal blue toilet installationTwo assemblies are concealed under the lid of a toilet tank; a ball cock assembly, which regulates the filling of the tank, and a flush valve assembly, which controls the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. When someone presses the flush handle, the trip lever raises the lift wires (or chain) connected to the tank stopper. As the stopper goes up, water rushes through the valve seat into the bowl via the flush passages. The water in the bowl yields to gravity and is siphoned out the trap.

Once the tank empties, the stopper drops into the flush valve seat. The float ball trips the ball cock assembly to let a new supply of water into the tank through the tank fill tube. As the tank water level rises, the float ball rises until it gets high enough to shut off the flow of water. If the water fails to shut off, the overflow tube carries water down into the bowl to prevent an overflow.

Noisy Toilet

Check for:

  • Restricted water flow.
  • Defective ball cock assembly.


  • Adjust the shutoff valve first.
  • Oil the trip lever or replace the ball cock washers.
  • Replace the entire ball cock assembly.
  • CAUTION: First turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve. Then flush the toilet to empty the tank and sponge out any remaining water.

Running Toilet

Check for:

  • Float arm not rising high enough.
  • Water-filled float ball.
  • Tank stopper not seating properly.
  • Corroded flush valve seal.
  • Cracked overflow tube.
  • Ball cock valve doesn’t shut off.


  • Bend float arm down or away from tank wall.
  • Replace ball.
  • Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain. Replace defective stopper.
  • Scour valve seat or replace.
  • Replace tube or install new flush valve assembly.
  • Oil trip lever, replace faulty washers, or install new ball cock assembly.

Clogged Toilet

Check for:

  • Blockage in drain.


  • Remove blockage with plunger or closet auger.

Inadequate flush

Check for:

  • Faulty linkage between handle and trip lever.
  • Tank stopper closes before tank empties.
  • Leak between tank and bowl.
  • Clogged flush passages.


  • Tighten setscrew on handle linkage or replace handle.
  • Adjust stopper guide rod and lift wires or chain.
  • Tighten tank bolts or couplings or replace gasket.
  • Clear obstructions from passages with wire.

Leaking Toilet

  • To stop a leak between the tank and bowl of a bowl-mounted toilet tank, tighten the bolts in the tank, or remove them and replace their gaskets.
  • To seal the connections on a wall-mounted tank, tighten the couplings on the pipe connecting the tank and bowl, or unscrew the couplings, remove the pipe, and replace the washers.
  • If the bowl leaks around its base, you’ll have to lift the bowl up and reseal it along the base.
  • If you don’t want to do this job yourself, call your Sacramento’s plumbing experts, Crystal Blue Plumbing.

Looking for information on rebates for high-efficiency toilets? Here’s information from local water districts:

  • Carmichael Water District
  • Citrus Heights Water District
  • City of Lincoln
  • City of West Sacramento
  • El Dorado Irrigation District
  • Fair Oaks Water District
  • Folsom Water District
  • Nevada Irrigation District
  • Orangevale Water District
  • Placer County Water District
  • Rio Linda/Elverta Community Water District
  • Roseville Water District
  • Sacramento County Water Agency
  • Sacramento Suburban Water District
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