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Before you call a plumber to fix an old toilet, try diagnosing the problem. If that doesn't work, call a plumber. To troubleshoot the problem, go to, a manufacturer's website where you'll learn how to inspect your toilet and determine exactly what's wrong. The problem is usually a broken or failing part that needs to be replaced. The parts of the toilet tank - fill valves, flappers and tank levers - age and weaken over time. And with continued use, the gaskets, seals and connectors in the tank can deteriorate. - Even if you're not so handy, you can take a stab at fixing a toilet; if that fails, you can call in a pro as a last resort. Since a toilet is such an important part of every household, knowing how one works and how to keep it working is a life skill everyone can use. - In the plumbing department of hardware stores and home centers, you'll find a wall of toilet replacement parts sold individually or as kits. In less than two hours, you can tune up your toilet for $45, the cost of replacing those components. If the tune-up doesn't do the trick, you can call a plumber, who will charge about $175 for a service call. - To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit and on smartphones.

Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services

Pro cost DIY cost Pro hours DIY hours DIY savings Percent saved $175 $45 1.5 2.3 $130 74%

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