Fix-It Chick: Achieve perfect flush with simple adjustments

When it comes to flushing toilets, there is a happy medium somewhere between using too much and using too little water with each flush. Using too much water is expensive and wasteful; using too little water is frustrating and unsanitary. Making a few simple adjustments inside the toilet tank can help any toilet achieve the perfect flush.

Step 1: Remove the toilet tank lid and set it aside in a safe place. Tank lids are not universal and therefore are difficult to replace if they get broken.

Step 2: Flush the toilet and watch the flush and refilling process within the tank.

Step 3: If the toilet flapper drops down too quickly, leaving behind excess water in the toilet tank, shorten the length of the flapper chain and see if this solves the problem.

Step 4: If the flapper still drops down too quickly after each flush, consider replacing the flapper with an adjustable weighted flapper. Adjusting the weight of a flapper can increase or decrease the speed it drops down, thereby increasing or decreasing the water it allows to flow out of the tank during each flush.

Step 5: Once the flapper is working properly, adjust the height of the water inside the toilet tank to optimize the toilet’s flushing potential. Lower water levels will save money and water, but if the water level is too low, the toilet will not flush completely. Raise the water level to the minimum height that allows a complete flush, while keeping the water level below the top of the overflow tube inside the tank.

Ball-type float mechanisms can be adjusted by turning the float rod adjustment screw located on top of the fill valve. Turn the screw clockwise to lower the water level in the tank. Turn the screw counterclockwise to raise the water level in the tank. If additional adjustment is needed, turning the ball at the end of the float rod can also increase or decrease the water level in the tank, as will gently bending the rod that the ball is on.

For tanks with cylinder float mechanisms, locate the height adjustment rod next to the float mechanism. Newer rods can be adjusted by turning them with a screwdriver; older rods have a clip that will need to be pinched to raise or lower the float height.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at