clock menu more-arrow no yes
Toilet Parts Overview Illustration by Harry Campbell

A toilet that leaks or runs is an easy homeowner fix—if you know how to diagnose the trouble. ID parts and problems with this handy guide, and hit the hardware store with confidence.

Know Your Parts to Fix a Leaking Toilet

Refill Tube

Refill Tube Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Replaces water in bowl after flush. If toilet runs intermittently, check that tube's end is above water level in tank.

Ball Cock

Ball Cock Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

On/off valve regulated by float ball fills tank and bowl after flush. If toilet runs intermittently, ball cock could be faulty and may need to be replaced.

Float Cup

Float Cup Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

When it comes time to retire an old ball-cock flush mechanism, the all-in-one plastic replacements stocked by home centers make for an easy fix. Float-cup mechanisms go in quickly and adjust easily for simple repairs.

Float Ball

Float Ball Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Shuts off ball cock when water filling tank reaches correct level.

Chain

Chain Inside Toilet Tank Illustration by Harry Campbell

Opens flapper at beginning of flush. If toilet runs constantly, check that chain isn't too short or long, thus interfering with flapper closing.

Overflow Tube

Overflow Tube In Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Prevents tank from overflowing. If tank water is constantly draining into tube, bend arm of float ball down slightly or lower float cup on replacement fill-valve assembly.

Flapper

Flapper In Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Lifts to let tank water flow into bowl. If toilet runs intermittently, scrub mineral deposits off it (or flush-valve seat under it) to tighten seal. If that doesn't help, replace it.

Gasket

Gasket In Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Seals connection between tank and bowl.

Wax Ring

Wax Ring In Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Seals connection between bottom of toilet and drain. If water leaks out base of bowl, replace ring.

Closet Bolt

Closet Bolt Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Holds bowl to flange. If toilet rocks, tighten nuts attached to these bolts. To avoid cracking bowl, secure no more than a quarter-turn past finger-tight.

Closet Flange

Closet Flange Of Toilet Illustration by Harry Campbell

Anchors toilet to floor and connects to drain pipe.