Having a damaged home toilet can be a major disaster. Attempting repairs requires extensive knowledge of how toilets work, or else you could do more harm than good.
Between its two main parts, namely, the bowl unit mounted on the floor and the upper tank that holds the water released with every flush action, the latter is where the majority of toilet issues occur. This is because the tank contains two main valves and all other moving parts within, which is connected to the outer handle that enables flushing.
Meanwhile, there are only very few repairs involving just the bowl itself. We have gathered eight of the most prevalent toilet problems you might encounter, as well as quick fixes that just might work for you.
1. Phantom Flushes
You can easily identify this issue when you suddenly hear sounds of water emptying into your bowl even though no one has been using it for hours. This usually happens when your unit has either a faulty flapper or flapper seat.
You can fix this problem by draining the tank and bowl at once, cleaning the flapper, making some adjustments if you see that something’s amiss, or by completely replacing the part it if it’s damaged.
2. Loose Flush Handle
If you find that your toilet’s flush handle feels jiggly and that moving it does nothing, you might be dealing with a loose handle.
Before tinkering with the toilet’s handle, ensure that some other parts did not cause the problem. Once you have done this, you may proceed to find the nut located on the inner side and tightening it with a wrench clockwise. You could also check the tank chains. Shortening the chain length could be a solution if you usually have to hold the handle down to flush completely.
3. Clogged Toilet
Some warning signs of a clogged toilet include hearing gurgling noises and your bowl accumulating way more water than it should while draining too slow when you try to flush. A number of things can cause the blockage, including accumulated human waste, tissue papers, or period products that have been previously flushed down.
Using force-cup plungers, right drain chemicals, or a plumber’s snake often work to loosen up obstructions. If none of the DIY tricks makes a difference, it may be time to call a professional to check for structural damage in your pipes or overall sewage system.
4. Weak Flush
If your toilet does not have enough water post-flushing, you may be experiencing a weak flush. First-generation toilets made from January 1, 1994, to mid-1997 can only hold 1.6 gallons of water, which is simply not enough to flush down stubborn solids. Another common culprit is clogged holes beneath the toilet bowl rim, which prevents smooth water passage from the tank to the bowl.
Cleaning the siphon jet hole or the swirl holes in the rim with wooden sticks may work. If you are after a more thorough cleaning job, though, try mixing one part of muriatic acid to 10 parts water and using a funnel to pour half of your prepared solution down the overflow tube.
Wait for 30 minutes before pouring the other half of the mixture, and then wait for another 30 minutes before flushing down the toilet. Always remember to wear protective gloves when handling strong chemicals and be wary of the fumes. Make sure to have proper ventilation as you try to do this fix.
5. Leaky Seals
Having water outside of the toilet is an indicator that one or more of the five seals are leaking.
If the damaged seals are the ones located between the tank and the bowl, or between your toilet base and drain pipe, jets of water may spurt from the toilet when you try to flush. You should empty and remove the whole tank to replace the seals. Flipping the tank will give you better access as you remove the old seal and put the replacement in.
If the leaks are minor and caused by the smaller seals in the mounting bolts and the ballcock’s base, tightening the bolts could be enough to stop the leak. If the wax seal on the plastic flange underneath the toilet base is causing the leak, it will eventually cause permanent floor damage. To fix this, you will have to change the wax seal by removing the whole toilet.
6. Loose Toilet Seats
You can easily fix a wobbly toilet seat by removing the toilet seat nuts and then inserting rubber bushings or seat stabilizers.
7. Running Toilet
If you hear water running in the tank continuously, there is possibly a glitch in the water intake system. Other causes include damage with the float or the part that tells the system when the tank is full of water, so it shuts it off; inserting the refill tube too deep into the overflow tube; or a problem with the inlet valve assembly. Not immediately resolving this issue is a waste of precious water.
If you’re unable to find the real cause of the problem, a professional plumber can be of help, as well as provide the necessary repair.
8. Drop in Bowl Water Level
There are two possible issues if you notice that a significant amount of water has left the toilet bowl. First, water could be slowly siphoning from the bowl due to a partial clog in its colon. Check if there’s a piece of paper, rag, or something else clogging your bowl by emptying it of water and using a flashlight and mirror to look up inside the colon.
Second, in rare cases, the bowl may have a crack in the colon or piping. Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is to install a new one.
You need to check your toilets’ functionality every so often, so you could deal with minor repairs immediately and avoid costly repairs in the future. Your toilet is one of the most used features of your home, so it is only right that you take good care of it. If you are unsure of how to deal with a toilet issue, call a professional plumber who can correctly diagnose and fix the problem for you.