People always ask me whether I can fix a toilet, or will it have to be replaced. I think “What kind of plumber are you accustomed to?” Behold... a service plumber, who actually fixes things!
Can you fix a toilet? Why not! For years I've been telling my clients that the actual toilet is no more than so-many pieces of china. You know... like dinner plates. And you replace them for the same kinds of reasons you would replace a plate.... because they're chipped, cracked, or scratched-up.
Aside from some obvious reasons, for instance- you're changing colors, styles or improving its water consumption rate, there's no reason to replace and not repair a toilet! After all, it's the metal and plastic toilet tank parts that wear out.
That being said, let's talk about how to fix a toilet. The three main working parts of a toilet are the fill valve, the flush valve, and the trip lever.
The job of
toilet fill valves
is to refill the toilet tank after it is emptied. It is what the water
supply line is connected to. The fill valve starts and stops the flow of
water into the tank. The water level in the tank is set with the fill
valve. Some toilets have specific proprietary fill valves. But most will
take an after-market valve just as well. See my page on toilet fill
Flush valves hold the water in the tank until it's activated. It then releases a set amount of water into the bowl. After which it resets itself to allow the fill valve to refill the tank. Flush valves are more likely to be proprietary than fill valves, but don’t get replaced as often. The flapper is part of most flush valves. See my page on toilet flush valves.
The purpose of the toilet trip lever is obvious. It activates the flush valve. It too can be a factory specific part, so don't let it trip you up. See my page on toilet trip levers.
Here is an opportunity for me to talk about water use. Most toilets have embossed in the china inside the tank, or in some other form a water fill line. It tells you how much water the designing engineer wants the toilet to use. His concern was keeping the fixture sanitary.
If you want the toilet to use less water by adjusting the level, or putting objects into it, take baby steps. Watch how the toilet continues to work as you gradually give it less water.