Toilet Repair and Installation

At Advocate Master Plumbing toilet repairs, replacements and installations are a daily job. Toilet repairs involve troubleshooting techniques that’s have taken years of experience with standard and high efficiency toilets. For a toilet installation or replacement you really need an honest master plumber to advise you. With the new low flow toilets it’s easy to get a lemon. But there are inexpensive toilets that work well. We prefer Gerber toilets. Watch our video at the end of this page & you’ll see why. Let us help you with your next toilet installation or repair.

But toilet diagnostic questions are the most common questions we’re ask. Discussing toilet repairs over the phone can be pretty difficult and often leads to more questions. So on our toilet service page we’re going to discuss some basic toilet questions with possible solutions. We highly recommend you hire a professional. But this is how we do it.

Skip ahead by clicking any of the questions below regarding toilet repair.

Why is my toilet leaking water?

Why is my toilet tank leaking water?

Why is my toilet flushing itself?

Why doesn’t my toilet flush right?

Why is my toilet making noises?

Why does my toilet smell?


Toilet Troubleshooting

The toilet is a pretty simple machine that can be easily understood by reading Toilets – How they work & DIY Tips. But let’s get to some simple toilet problems and solutions first.


Problems & Solutions

In the following toilet troubleshooting guide there will be a single problem with a number of possible reasons for the problem. There will be solutions included with each reason. Some will have links you can click on for a post that addresses that reason for the toilet problem. There will be a portion of that page that explains how to fix the toilet step by step with a video at the end of each linked page.

Why is my toilet leaking water?

There are a lot of reasons why you can have a toilet leak. When looking for a toilet water leak you always look above the leak. If you find more water look up further. Keep looking until you don’t find water. Then look down. It really is that simple. A good guide for toilet diagnostics and repair is the Korky plumbing parts guide.

In the following list you’ll find many of the reasons for a leaking toilet and how to perform each toilet repair.

Wax ring replacement –

A leaking toilet wax ring can be due to drying out from age. They usually last 10 years or more though. A leaking toilet wax ring can also be caused by a loose toilet bowl that wobbles or slips when sat upon. If the movement is due to a cracked toilet flange you better call us to repair it. Otherwise replace the wax ring. Then shim it with pennies if it’s wobbling. And caulk the toilet with clear 100% silicone caulk to the floor to prevent future slipping.

To learn how to do these things go to this post about How to install a toilet.

Water shut off replacement –

Sometimes a toilet water shut off leaks because the nut at the base of the handle, the packing nut, has loosened and just needs to be tightened. But usually the toilet water shut off is old and needs to be replaced.

To learn how to replace a toilet water shut off read DIY – Replace faucet water shut offs.

Riser replacement-

The toilet water line between the water shut off and tank is called a riser tube. If it’s leaking and old I’d recommend just getting a flexible stainless steel toilet riser and replace it. That should be pretty self explanatory. When in doubt, bring the part with you to the store. This is an easy toilet repair.

Why is my toilet tank leaking?

If you’re toilet tank is leaking it can be quite a few things. But none of them should be too hard to handle.

If you’re lucky the toilet flush valve refill tube that connects the fill valve to the overflow tube of the flush valve has slipped off. It adds water to the bowl during the toilet flush cycle to clean and refill the bowl. Simply reattach the toilet refill tube. If not read on.

Fill valve replacement –

If you’re not lucky it will be the toilet fill valve is damaged and spraying while filling the toilet tank. You’ll need to replace the fill valve. To better understand the toilet refill tube or replace the fill valve read How to install a toilet fill valve.


Another reason for a toilet tank leak is a toilet flush valve replacement was done without trimming the flush valve overflow tube below the handle. If the water level is set too high or the flush valve has failed water will run out the tank handle opening before going into the overflow tube.

Trim the flush valve overflow tube. Check out the post How to replace a toilet flush valve.

Toilet tank replacement –

Still another cause is the toilet tank has cracked. Damage can occur when a toilet tank is stressed or the toilet tank bolts were over tightened. You’ll need a complete toilet replacement if that’s the case. To learn how to do that read How to replace a toilet.

Flush valve replacement –

A more involved cause for a leaking toilet tank is the tank to bowl gasket has been compromised. In that case you’ll have to replace it. But sometimes the toilet tank to bowl bolts are just loose and need to be tightened. In either case, go to How to replace a toilet flush valve to learn how to fix either of these issues.

Toilet tank condensation –

Sometimes toilet tanks sweat if you’ve had the house open during a humid day. The water is cold and the tank starts to sweat like a glass of ice tea. Shut the door and turn the air conditioner on. And wipe the condensation off the toilet tank.

Why is my toilet flushing itself?

If you hear your toilet coming on by itself then you’re just hearing running water. That could mean a few things.

Toilet flapper replacement –

The most likely reason is your flapper is old and needs to be replaced. If you’re not sure, drop about 10 drops of blue food dye in the tank and leave it alone for and hour or two. Then check for dye in the toilet bowl. There are other reasons for dye to be in the toilet bowl but usually it’s an old or damaged flapper. Go to the post How to replace a toilet flapper to learn this repair.

Toilet flush valve replacement –

Sometimes the flush valve overflow tube can be cracked and leaking or the flush valve seat that the flapper sits on has a nick in it. Lightly sanding the flush valve seat with fine sandpaper will remove nicks. Sometimes the fill valve refill tube is pushed too far down the flush valve overflow tube. This will cause siphoning from the fill valve. To learn more about this check out my post How to replace a toilet flush valve.

Water pressure regulating valve installation –

Occasionally the cause of the problem doesn’t call for a toilet repair. Excessive water pressure in your water pipes can be so high that it overpowers the fill valve and forces it on. That can be the cause of a very high water bill. Better to install a water pressure regulating valve. For that you should call us. But for information about it go to Excessive water pressure.

Why is my toilet not flushing right?

This is one of the more vague questions. I’ll try to list the most likely reasons for a toilet not flushing right first.

Toilet fill valve adjustment –

If you’re asking why your toilet doesn’t flush right, the most common reason is the water level in the tank is too low. Adjusting the toilet tank water level to just below the top of the flush valve overflow tube will fix that. You’ll see how to do that in the post How to install a toilet fill valve.

Clogged toilet bowl jet –

If it’s an older toilet you could have a clogged toilet jet.

The jet is the hole inside the toilet bowl, underwater, that shoots water straight down the drain. It helps increase your toilet siphoning power. This will get clogged with urine salts. Just chisel them out with a short screwdriver & flush it a couple of times. Be careful not to damage the toilet bowl.

Toilet replacement –

An older toilet, usually 15 to 20 years old or older, just won’t work well. Neither will a poor quality toilet. In these cases you’ll need a toilet replacement. You’ll find instructions on how to this in the blog post How to replace a toilet.

Unclog the toilet or drain –

If you have a toilet clog it won’t flush right. But sometimes it’s a more serious issue like a clogged main drain or sewer. If your toilet is clogged just unclog it with a plunger or toilet auger, as explained in the post How to unclog a toilet. But if it’s a clogged main drain or sewer you better call a pro. But you’ll find information about how that’s done in How to unclog drains.

Why is my toilet making noises?

Toilet noises when you flush are normal, obviously. But we all know what a toilet is suppose to sound like. If you’re hearing toilet noises that are out of the ordinary, then read on.

Toilet fill valve replacement –

Normally a worn or damaged toilet fill valve can make some loud humming noises. In that case replace it by following the instructions in How to install a fill valve.

Toilet water shut off replacement

If you’re toilet water shut off valve is the older multi turn style it has a rubber seal. That rubber wears out over time and can not only clog the toilet water line but also make some funky humming noises. Replace the toilet water shut off by following the instructions in DIY – How to replace faucet water shut offs.

Water pressure reducing valve installation –

Excessive water pressure is very damaging to a plumbing system and its fixtures and appliances. Sometimes a water pressure reducing valve replacement is necessary when you hear loud noises in your water pipes. Call us for a water pressure reducing valve replacement. If you’re not sure what that is read Excessive water pressure.

Why does my toilet smell?

Jokes aside, a smelly toilet is a common problem. Toilets aren’t suppose to smell. If yours does, it probably smells like sewage. This is both unpleasant and unhealthy. A toilet leak into the ceiling below can occur. Get your toilet serviced when you can. Here are a few reasons for this problem.

Pull and reset the toilet –

An old or damaged toilet wax ring is a common reason for a smelly toilet. It’s not that hard to do either. If you want to learn how we do it read How to replace a toilet.

Dry toilet trap –

A toilet has a built in trap to prevent sewer gas from getting into your house. If you don’t flush regularly the water will evaporate allowing sewer gas into your home. But a partially clogged sewer or toilet will siphon that water out of the bowl. If your sewer is clogged you can read How to unclog drains. But I’d recommend you call Advocate Master Plumbing. A toilet clog can be handled by following the instructions in How to unclog a toilet.

Hire the professionals

I know this is a lot to read. And with 30 years in the plumbing trade I can tell you there are a few things I skipped because they’re so rare. I really hope that this is helpful to you. And I also hope that you’ll consider calling Advocate Master Plumbing. No matter what the plumbing problem, you’ll get a master plumber at your door. If you’re still not sure, check out our 5 STAR Reviews from Google, Facebook and Yelp at the bottom of our website.