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11 Steps to Fix a Leaking Toilet Tank

For the homeowner with a little home improvement know-how, and some DIY troubleshooting direction, you can follow a step-by-step guide to stop a non-stop running toilet

What supplies do you need to fix a leaky toilet tank? On top of finding new bolt gaskets and a new spud washer, you should have:

  • An adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Small wire brush
  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • White vinegar

When your toilet tank is leaking, this is often the result of mineral and hard water that has compromised the rubber gaskets surrounding the spud washer and tank bolts. The spud washer links the toilet bowl and the flush valve, while the tank bolts are located at the base of the toilet, and they join the tank to the base. At every bolt, a rubber gasket between the tank and bolt head prevents water leaks from seeping out and drips and leaks. The inside parts of the toilet, like the toilet flapper, ballcock, overflow tube and more may need to be addressed, we’ll look at the spud washer for leaks coming from the toilet bowl.

Fixing a Leaky Toilet Tank in 11 Steps

Once you have your tools at the ready, here is how you can go about replacing the spud washer and bolt gaskets for the toilet repair:

  1. Turn off the water supply by the bottom of the tank, by following the water supply line from the wall and twist the water supply valve/shutoff valve by the bottom of the toilet tank (twist clockwise).
  2. Empty the tank: you can use the toilet flush handle, then sop up the rest of the water with the sponge.
  3. Secure the jaws of the wrench around the nut that’s under the tank bolt.
  4. Use your screwdriver to loosen and remove the tank bolt (inside the tank). Continue to use the wrench outside the tank and the screwdriver within to take out the next bolt.
  5. Dislocate the tank from the bowl and set it on its side (ideally with someone else’s help).
  6. Take out the spud washer, with a wrench if necessary.
  7. Put in the replacement spud washer, making sure it’s firmly attached to the spud nut.
  8. Take out the bolts and gaskets, and clean up with the wire brush. Make sure that any fragments of the old gasket are removed from the tank so that the replacement gasket has a clean surface.
  9. Put in the new gaskets securely over the bolts.
  10. Put the bolts and nuts back. Put the bolts through the holes along the inner bottom tank, and attach the nuts under the tank over the bolts, using your hands to twist them firmly back in place.
  11. Reattach the tank to the bowl by going back and forth between tightening the nuts (with a wrench) and bolts (with a screwdriver); the bowl gaskets/flange need to be securely in place. Only keep from screwing the bolts at the base too tightly. This could quickly fracture the tank.

If you find yourself with a plumbing emergency on your hands, such as a leaking toilet, or a bad wax ring at the toilet base, or leaks from the tank lid, rubber washers or lock nuts, it’s probably not going to happen at a convenient time. That’s why you can call A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. at night or on the weekend to get fast service. Find out how an experienced Kansas City plumber can solve your plumbing disaster—call us today!