Common Toilet Problems And What You Can Do To Fix Them

Problem #1: The Clog

This problem comes as no surprise. It’s the most common problem you’re likely to have with your toilet. Whether it’s a little too much toilet paper, a child’s toy that is “accidentally” flushed, or a deeper problem within the pipes, toilets can clog for a variety of reasons. Keep several tools ready to help clear those minor clogs as they arise: a force-cup plunger and an auger. Plungers should fit snuggly over the drain and allow you to forcefully pump until the water flows freely. For serious clogs, an auger can be rotated downward through the drain hole until the clog is reached and broken free.

Problem #2: Water Dripping Into The Tank

Have you ever heard a hissing sound coming from your toilet? It may be from a slow leak in the tank from the supply line. Check the float, the refill tube, and the ballcock. The hissing noise is usually coming from water leaking through the ballcock. It could be as simple as adjusting the level of the float. Also, check to ensure the refill tube isn’t inserted too far into the overflow tube. If neither of these seems to be a problem, it might be time to replace the ballcock.

Problem #3: Water Seeping Into The Bowl

Occasionally you’ll hear your toilet spontaneously refilling, as if it had been flushed. When the toilet seems to cut on and off by itself, it has what plumbers refer to as the phantom flush. This is caused by a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl, and it’s almost always caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. Drain the tank and check and clean the flapper seat. If it is worn or damaged, it’s time to replace it.

Problem #4: A Slowly Emptying Bowl

Have you noticed the bowl slowly empties until eventually there’s little water left in the bowl? This is also known as a weak flush. It’s usually a result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. If these aren’t working properly, they may need to be cleaned of debris. You can loosen it with gently scrubbing around the rim or using thin wire to clear debris away. Be careful not to scratch the bowl.

Problem #5: Leaky Seal

Standard toilets have several seals that can give out over time. The largest seal is between the tank and the bowl. If a break exists here, you’ll likely know it immediately. It will cause a major leak with water shooting out from underneath the tank every time the toilet is used. Seals also exist at the mounting bolts and at the base of the ballcock. You’ll also find occasional leaks near the wax seal mounted underneath the toilet base. If this seal fails, water underneath the toilet could eventually rot the floor. Caulking the base of the toilet provides some protection. Also be sure to repair and replace any leaks and broken items immediately to ensure leaks are stopped before they have impact. If you can’t find the problem or have trouble making the repair, a professional plumber can help.

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