At St. Paul Pipeworks, we often receive calls from homeowners concerned about their toilets. While some assume that a complete toilet replacement is necessary, our experienced plumbers understand that many issues can be resolved without the need for a new toilet.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the common problems and solutions associated with toilet repairs.

Inner Workings of a Toilet Tank

Toilet malfunctions often stem from issues within the tank. Here, we’ll explore the three primary components that play a crucial role in the flushing process.

Exploded diagram of a toilet

1. Trip Lever

The trip lever, situated on the upper left side of the toilet tank, initiates the flushing process. If your toilet isn’t shutting off or flushing correctly, the trip lever may be cracked, broken, or misaligned. Fortunately, replacing a trip lever is a quick and straightforward task.

2. Flapper, Tank Ball, or Flush Tower

The device responsible for releasing fresh water into the bowl is commonly known as a flapper, but it can also be a tank ball or a flush tower. A rubber seal inside the tank holds the water until flushing. If this part is faulty, it can be easily replaced with a new flapper, tank ball, or seal.

3. Water Control Device

The device regulating water flow before and after tank filling goes by various names, with the old English term being a ball cock. While St Paul Pipeworks plumbers typically replace these devices rather than repairing them, a variety of standard replacements are readily available on our trucks.

Common Toilet Repairs

In many cases, a rebuild is needed due to issues with the flushing stopper, whether it’s a flapper, a seal for a flush tower, or a tank ball for a ball cock. These items are commonly replaced during toilet repairs, and if you’re searching for them in a hardware store, they are now referred to as fill valves.

Overflow Flush Side Toilet Repairs

Occasionally, issues extend to the overflow flush side of the toilet. If the plastic component breaks, a Douglas flush valve comes into play. When replacing a Douglas flush valve, the entire toilet tank may need to be removed to perform the repair.


Before opting for a complete toilet replacement, consider consulting St Paul Pipeworks for a professional assessment.

Whether you need a simple repair or are contemplating installing a new toilet, our skilled plumbers in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area are ready to assist. Give St Paul Pipeworks a call today for all your toilet concerns.

Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager

FAQs – Toilet Repairs

Q: My toilet isn’t flushing properly. Do I need to replace it?

A: Not necessarily. Many flushing issues can be resolved by replacing specific components within the toilet tank, such as the trip lever, flapper, or flush tower. Our plumbers can assess the problem and recommend cost-effective repair solutions.

Q: How do I know if I need to replace the entire toilet or just a part of it?

A: If your toilet is not shutting off or flushing correctly, our plumbers will inspect the inner workings of the tank. In most cases, issues with the trip lever, flapper, or water control device can be repaired without replacing the entire toilet. We prioritize cost-effective solutions.

Q: What is a fill valve?

A: A fill valve is a component inside the toilet tank that controls the water level after flushing. In the context of the blog, terms like flapper, tank ball, or flush tower may be replaced with the more modern term “fill valve” when searching for replacement parts in a hardware store.

Q: When is it necessary to replace the overflow flush side of the toilet?

A: Repairs to the overflow flush side, particularly involving a Douglas flush valve, may be needed if the plastic component breaks. In such cases, the entire toilet tank might need to be removed for a comprehensive repair.

Q: Can I handle toilet repairs on my own, or should I call a professional plumber?

A: While some minor issues can be addressed with DIY solutions, it’s often best to consult a professional plumber, especially for more complex problems. St. Paul Pipeworks has experienced plumbers ready to assess and efficiently resolve any toilet troubles you may encounter.

Toilet Troubles: Repair or Replace? A Plumber’s Perspective