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The modern-day flush toilet is an advanced and complicated beast. Dumping buckets of water into the toilet basin has been deprecated; we now use a simple-yet-powerful mechanism for collecting and releasing about 1.6 gallons of water. However there are many ways for this engineering feat to malfunction or fail.

Usually the problem is localized to specific areas of the toilet. The major problem areas are: theplumbing beneath the toilet; the interface between the toilet and the pipes; the water collection system; and the flushing mechanism. Most of these solutions require hands on work the toilet, specifically, for the second two subareas, you will need to remove the tank covering.

  1. If your problem lies in the plumbing beneath the floor, it's in your best interest to hire a plumber. If it's a simple clog, a plunger might do the trick, but if this fails Roto Rooter might be in order.
  2. Problems here usually have to do with a loose or damaged gasket. Usually symptoms are leakage around the base of the toilet. A plumber is a good bet here, too, but if you are skilled in taking apart toilets, remove the toilet from the floor and replace the gasket yourself, you can pick them up at Ace Hardware.
  3. If the tank begins to fill, but doesn't fill completely, it could be either the flushing mechanism, a leak, or the floaty thing. If the stopper is not situated comfortably on top of the hole in the tank, continue to the next section. Otherwise, there is probably a leak in the seal of the stopper. Test this by pressing the stopper against the base of the tank until a temporary seal is formed. If no seal will form-the water continues to drain-there is leak somewhere else in the tank. If a seal is formed by adding more pressure, the stopper is old needs to be replaced. If it's the floaty thing, you'll know because water will continue to enter the tank even though the water level is at its maximum. This is fixed by adjusting the tension on the floaty thing, near the connection between the floaty thing and the filling column.
  4. Finally if the tank is not filling because the stopper is not situated at the bottom of the tank, it usually is because the flushing chain is either too loose or too tight. The chain should be loose enough to allow for the stopper to rest on the hole in the tank, letting the weight of the water cause the stopper to hold. However it should not be so loose as a turn of the handle has little effect on the placement of the stopper.

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