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Your Bathroom Questions
Answered by Beth Hodge

Q. In the old days when the toilet would run I could open the tank and bend the bar that held the float ball till it stopped. The newer fixtures don't have a ball. Is there a trick to stopping the running on new toilets?

A. Assuming there are no leaks that keep the toilet running there is an easy way to adjust the level of the water in the tank.

The new gadgets, fluid masters, have a standing tube with a cylinder shaped "floater" that rides up and down the tube when flushed. This cylinder acts just as the old float ball.

It can be adjusted by sliding the v-shaped metal clip up or down that connects it to the standing tube.

Q. I've about had it with my toilet. With nobody around it seems to "flush itself". Not completely really, but it makes the noise and then stops, just as if somebody flushed it. Any clues?

A. Ah! The mystery half-flush!! This is usually as simple as a rubber "flapper" in the bottom of your toilet tank.

The flapper raises and lowers, prompted by the flush handle, in order for your toilet to flush. Over time the flapper loses its shape or corodes causing your tank to slowly lose water to the bowl.

When enough water is lost the toilet refills itself giving you the annoyance of the "half-flush." The part is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, found in the plumbing aisle at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Q.The tub sealer around our bathtub (where the tub meets the wall) gets filthy after only a month or so. Do we just have to keep ripping it our and re-applying? Is there a better way?

The white shows a lot of dirt but the clear stuff looks dingy right away. The tub is blue - do they make a blue sealer?

A: Today, caulk comes in a variety of colors, although I can't say I have seen blue yet.

Try choosing a silicone waterproof caulk specific to tub and tile. Before applying be sure the surface is clean and extremely dry. Any dirt or moisture beneath the new caulk will cause a bad seal and allow water to mildew your newest application quickly.

With normal use caulk should last about a year before deterioration appears. You could also try to apply a "mildew-resistant" cleaner when cleaning the area regularly.

Have a question or tip about home repairs? Let us know at Repair@ClevelandSeniors.Com

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Beth Hodge
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