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Solve Your Restroom Headaches
Become an expert on toilet repair! In this post, we will teach you everything you need to know about the 5 most common problems with toilets and what you can do to solve them! Many toilet problems are easy to fix and diagnose yourself. Some of the most common problems include a leaky toilet, constantly running tank, and a clogged toilet.
Anatomy of a Toilet
First lets start off with the basics of every toilet. Whether you have a post 1994 low flow toilet or one of the older standard 3.6GPF, all toilets have two main parts.
• Fill Valve – Sits in the tank and fills it with water. This valve sends water to the bowl through the refill tube.
• Flush Valve – Made up of the flush valve, flapper, and tank lever which are all connected.
Alright, now let’s get to solving your toilet headaches! Follow along with this helpful video to get a visual demonstration!
If your toilet is leaking, here’s how you can figure out where the leak is coming from.
IMPORTANT : A leak from the base can cause significant damage to your floor. Fix this problem ASAP!
- Begin by wiping the exterior surfaces dry of any water.
- Next, pour food coloring into the tank and flush. Let sit for 1 hr.
- Wipe a towel around the base of your toilet base. If you find water, you’ve found your leak!
- Replace the wax ring or flange and your ready to go!
Definition – Occurs when the toilet seems to flush when no one is there. WHoooa scary! To diagnose, use the same trick with food coloring except this time don’t flush. Wait to see if the food coloring ends up in the toilet! If it does, you have a ghost in your restroom! Just kidding!
Ghost flushing can be caused by a deteriorated or worn flapper. DROP IN BOWL CLEANERS with bleach have a tendency to do this so you should try using a regular bowl cleaner instead!
Here’s how to replace the flapper:
- Turn off the water valve and flush until all water is gone.
- Pull flapper from the pivot arm.
- Line up new flapper with valve seat and click back into place.
If replacing the flapper doesn’t solve your problem, your drain seat may be corroded. This prevents a good seal, allowing water to leak into your bowl. To fix this, try using a simple flush valve repair kit or an entirely new flush valve.
3.Constantly Running Toilet
First, check your flapper as discussed in the previous step. Next, make sure there is no sediment around the fill valve that will prevent it from sealing properly. If not, the water level in your tank may be too high so water is flowing into your overflow valve to compensate.
2 Ways to Adjust Water Level:
- Stainless Steel Adjustment Rod – Squeeze outside edges of the clip located on the back of the float cup. Then push the clip and the float cup lower on the stainless steel link.
- Plastic Screw Adjustment Rod – Simply turn the screw counter clockwise to lower the water-level.
If the problem persists, your fill valve seal may be damaged. To fix, remove the cap from your fill valve top and replace the seal. If you’re up to it, you can replace the whole fill valve while your at it!
Definition – When your bowl automatically flushes 2 to 4 times.
- Quick Fix: You may just have the wrong flapper. Get an adjustable flapper. To set it, just dial it to the appropriate flush to alleviate any more double flushing problems!
- Still not fixed? Your tank lever may be sticking. Replace it with a new one so that it doesn’t cause your flapper to stay open.
Now for everybody’s favorite! Do we really need to define this one? Here are some tips!
You need the right kind of plunger:
- Cup plunger – Designed for flat surfaces like a bathtub.
- Flange Plunger – Designed for the toilet. Seals the opening on the bottom of the bowl which creates the vacuum and pressure needed to tackle a clog.
Use a Snake or Plumbers Auger when plunger doesn’t work:
- In order to avoid damaging your porcelain, use a plumbers auger which has a protective covering.
- If the water level is high, use protective rubber gloves to scoop water out with a cup and dispose of it until you reach a manageable level.
- Insert spring into bowl and work it through the trap and drain line until you think you have unclogged it. Then just slip it out and you should have an unclogged toilet!
If your toilet is constantly clogged, you may want to consider buying a new high-performance low flow toilet. Some cities even offer rebates on low flow toilets so make sure you check with your local office!
About This Post
Cheryl Khan is a freelancer and interior designer who enjoys finding new ways to fill restrooms with life! She is a fan of modern and minimalist design!