skip to Main Content
A person holding an adjustable wrench over an open toilet tank to perform toilet repair

The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Toilet Repair: A Plumber’s Guide

Toilet repair is probably one of the most popular searches on the internet for do-it-your-selfers. Many people look at a toilet that is leaking, constantly running, or stopped up and think they can fix it themselves because YouTubers or home improvement sites make it look easy. But, all too often, these projects end up causing more damage and costing more money than they’re worth.

At George Salet Plumbing, our team charges by the job, not the hour, so our only loyalty is to our customers and their bottom line. That’s why we want to explain the pitfalls of DIY plumbing repairs, what is safe to attempt on your own, and how calling a pro at the beginning of a project can save you money in the long run!

Can You Fix a Toilet Yourself? The Risks of DIY Plumbing

Toilet repair can look deceptively simple when you see a diagram of the working parts. It’s easy to think, “Sure, I can do that”—but read the directions carefully.

For something like a tank valve replacement, you’ll have to shut off the main valve, disconnect several hoses, and avoid cracking the tank. Then it all has to go back together again. Even if you make it this far, the only thing you can do if your new tank valve doesn’t work is “check for leaks” and “make adjustments.” Suddenly, a fifty-minute project turns into an indefinitely unresolved issue.

Toilet repair is something that we do every day. We have practice and training to do this work quickly and without causing further damage to your toilet or bathroom. We also know how to adjust and calibrate all parts to ensure there are no leaks or irregularities that will cause future problems down the line—a surprisingly common issue with DIY work.

How to Handle Common Toilet Problems

How to Unclog a Toilet

If you have one clogged toilet, a simple plunger may be all you need to push the debris away and free the water flow. Don’t use excessive force—a simple up-and-down plunging motion several times should do the trick.

If you have a stubborn clog or worse, multiple clogged toilets, call George Salet Plumbing! In these situations, it’s better to have us snake it out than it is to try to unclog it yourself. We’ll run diagnostics to ensure you don’t have a sewer line clog on your hands, and we’ll clear the issue without harming your pipes.

What to Do About a Leaking Toilet

If your toilet is leaking from the base or any other area, the first thing you should do is turn off your water supply valve, also known as an angle stop. This is usually a football-shaped, metal knob underneath the toilet. This will stop the leak from causing further water damage to your home.

Stop using that toilet until a professional can identify the source of the leak and repair it. A majority of toilet leaks are a result of bad handiwork to begin with, so it’s always best to call a professional in these situations.

What to Do When Your Toilet is Constantly Running

The first thing to do is look at the toilet handle—is it stuck in the flush position? If so, push it back up. If not, remove the lid of the toilet tank and check to see if the flapper is stuck in the open position or if the toilet tank float is out of position.

The flapper is the round rubber seal that sits at the bottom of the tank. It is connected to the flush handle via a chain, which can sometimes get tangled, keeping the flapper open. The float looks like a cylinder on a stick and it sits on top of the water line. Its position tells the toilet when to stop filling the tank, and sometimes, it can get stuck.

If manually repositioning the flush handle, flapper, or float doesn’t work, call a professional plumber!

What to Do When a Toilet’s Wax Ring Needs to Be Replaced

A wax ring is a very simple part of the toilet that keeps the water from leaking out from the base. It can cost less than ten dollars to buy and merely needs to be replaced when the wax pulls away from the toilet over time. So why not try it yourself?

You’ll understand why you need a plumber’s help when you go to lift a 50-pound toilet off its base, then try to set it back down on the bolts and new ring in perfect alignment. It takes a coordinated team to do this work safely. This is one of those toilet repairs that you should never attempt on your own.

Bottom Line: It All Comes Down to Cost

We understand that cost is the main reason homeowners attempt DIY repairs. However, nothing ruins a weekend like an out-of-service or leaking toilet. DIY repairs tend to take hours or even days longer than professional work. And worse, a botched repair can cost you double what you expected to pay to begin with—much more than what you would have paid for plumbing services.

Don’t believe the do-it-yourself shows when they say that you can complete a toilet repair on your own in less than an hour. Even if your only toilet repair job is just to replace the wax seal at the base of the bowl, it’s better to call the plumbing professionals at George Salet Plumbing. With our free estimates, there isn’t any reason not to call!

Get Reliable Toilet Repair Services in the San Francisco Bay Area

Without the right tools, techniques, and team, no plumbing job is ever as easy—or as clean—as it seems. At George Salet Plumbing, our team offers free estimates and free advice, and we have local, friendly people here to help you. Save some time and money and contact us today! Call (415) 234-0733 for San Francisco or (650) 557-3883 for the Peninsula.

Schedule a service with us today!

Schedule a service with us today!

Back To Top