When a toilet stops working it can be a major inconvenience. If your toilet isn't working right, try the simple fixes below.If the toilet doesn't flush:
When you jiggle the handle, nothing happens. Remove the lid from the toilet tank and peek inside. Most likely, either the chain came off at the lift rod or flapper end, or the rod broke in half. If the chain came off the rod, you can simply reattach it. (Finding the right amount of slack will take some trial and error.) Likewise, if it came off of the flapper, it can easily be reattached.
If the lift rod (the arm attached to the handle) is broken, you can purchase a new rod and handle assembly for a few bucks at just about any hardware store. A plastic nut holds the handle into the side of the tank and the whole assembly can be popped out and replaced. Once you've installed the new assembly, reattach the chain.
If the toilet keeps running:
Remove the tank lid and watch the toilet as it flushes. You'll probably see that the chain is too tight, causing the flapper to not close all the way, which results in water continuing to drain out and having to be replenished. Loosen the chain a little and see if it fixes the problem.
Another cause of a constantly-running toilet is an improper float height. The float is the balloon-looking thing that sits on the end of a shaft and falls and then rises when the toilet is flushed. When the float reaches a certain height, the fill valve is closed and the water stops flowing. If your toilet is running longer than it should, push down a tiny bit on the float and see if it stops running. If it does, the float just needs to be adjusted downward a little (by turning the screw at the other end of its shaft). You may need to try a few different heights to determine the optimal position of the float; adjust it slightly and flush the toilet, then adjust it again if necessary.
If there's not enough water pressure:
The chain may be too loose if there isn't enough pressure. With the tank lid off, watch the toilet flush. If there is too much slack in the chain, the flapper may close prematurely, reducing water pressure. Tighten the chain and see if that makes a difference.
Loss of water pressure can also be caused by the holes in the toilet bowl getting clogged up. There are little holes all around the side of the bowl, where water is forced into the bowl to refill it after a flush. If any of these holes get clogged, clean them out with a round file, a nail punch, or a similarly-shaped instrument. (Don't push too hard or hammer on the bowl.)
If the toilet overflows:
If your toilet overflows, the first thing to do is to turn off the water to the toilet. There is a valve on one side of the toilet, where the pipe runs from the wall to the toilet. Turn this valve clockwise to close it.
Once the water is off, use a plunger to try to clear the clog. If it works, you'll see the water drain out of the bowl. If the plunger can't clear it, try a simple drain-cleaning tool like a Zip-It
or Turbo Snake
. If you don't have anything that can remove the clog, or if the clog remains even after trying to clear it, you'll need to call a plumber (or buy yourself a closet auger or plumber's snake).
If you are able to remove the clog, turn the water back on and flush the toilet to make sure the clog is completely gone.