Shutting off the water is a good idea, and most likely there is a valve on the small pipe which refills the toilet tank. Shutting off the main water line could lead to problems with your water heater, so it should be avoided if possible. Then flush until the toilet tank is empty to reduce the mess.
Otherwise your main problem may be getting the old mechanism out of there, as it is probably metal, and corrosion may have frozen it in place. So you may have to try various tools and approaches until something works. Replacements are mostly now plastic, and in my experience can be installed even without tools. Somebody else can suggest the proper size, or you can go to a hardware store and ask for advice. I got one seriously wrong once; but it is still in place and still working, although it was so undersized it is completely underwater. Replacements used to cost about ten dollars, but I would take along thirty today. And an Internet search should turn up plenty of detailed instructions, although I always just winged it. This is a plumbing job which can be completed successfully by a really bad plumber.
You can gut the toilet and find a replacement kit at home depot for pretty cheap. As Hobsen said, you can usually turn off the water flow to the toilet with a knob located under the back.
Once you've turned off the water, you should be able to flush once to empty the tank, and then just work with everything inside with little difficulty. It should very quickly become apparent what the problem is.
Posts: 3742 | Registered: Dec 2003
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If you can go a couple of hours without a toilet, and aren't too squeamish to do it, just pull out the old hardware (after you shut off the water) and take it along with you to Home Depot. You can thereby ensure the purchase of compatible parts. (To be extra sure you could measure the size of the hole where the water enters the tank and the height of the tank. But honestly I don't think there's too much chance of going too wrong.)
Now I am contemplating whether to install my own water softener. It's sitting in boxes in my house...and uses mostly quick-connect fittings ...and I have a few basic tools...and no soldering will be required...so I'm tempted. But I can easily imagine the job turning into a nightmare (sort of like when I removed an 16 year old carburetor from a Wankel engine. "Frozen bolts" is the card title for the first act of that drama).
Posts: 6847 | Registered: Mar 2003
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