Resources – Toilets
People call us all the time about toilet problems. After all, you need your toilet to be working well in order to enjoy living in your home! Here are some of the most common problems that we see, as well as some things to look at before you call us.
There are several things that can go wrong and cause your toilet to flush poorly. First of all, make sure your tank is big enough. The standard size for toilet tanks used to be 7.5 gallons, which provided enough water to flush almost anything. In the name of water conservation, though, manufacturers are now making tanks as small as 1.6 gallons. Sometimes these toilets have problems flushing effectively.
This may not be your problem, though. First, check and see if there’s enough water in your toilet’s tank. There should be a mark inside the tank showing how high the water should go. If it’s not up to that line, add some until it is. Check again in a few days to make sure your toilet is maintaining the right amount of water in the tank. This can make a significant difference in how well your toilet flushes.
If your toilet can’t maintain the right water levels, there’s something wrong with your valve. There are different kinds of valves and the kind you have mostly depends on when you bought your toilet. Older models usually have ballcock valves while newer ones have fill valves. Either way, you can usually buy a new valve at your local hardware store and install it, or have your plumber install one for you
If all the valves are working fine but the toilet still won’t flush, check your jet hole. This is a small hole inside the front of the toilet bowl. Hard water can leave deposits in this hole. If it’s not clear, clean it out and see if your toilet flushes better.
Septic tank problems can also cause toilet flushing issues. You may need to have your drainfield replaced, or you may need an outlet filter on your tank. We do suggest that you call a plumber for all septic tank issues. These tanks can contain toxic waste and gases. A plumber will have the proper gear to deal with these, but you probably don’t and we don’t want to see you get hurt!
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We hear from a lot of people who have problems with their toilet overflowing. If your toilet overflows regularly, there are a few things that may be going on.
There may be a problem with your pipes. Older pipes may have layers of calcification built up in them, or they may not actually be wide enough to handle the waste that needs to flow through them. Newer pipes may not have been installed correctly, or the installation may have been done by a less than competent plumber. Unfortunately, only a plumber can tell you if pipe problems are causing your frequent toilet overflows.
There could also be a problem with the toilet. While you would assume that all toilets are designed to some basic quality standards, the truth is that some are better than others. There may not be enough water in the tank, certain areas might be calcified so much that they aren’t working, or certain tubes may not be in the best place to facilitate flushing. Again, only a plumber will be able to look at your toilet and tell you if any of these are the problem.
If both the toilet and the pipes are in good condition, there’s a good chance that someone is putting something down the toilet that is causing the issue. Even stool changes because of medication or dietary changes can cause a toilet to start overflowing regularly.
When it comes to your toilet, you should only flush human waste and reasonable amounts of toilet paper. The toilet is designed to handle these things, and only these things. This means you need to keep feminine hygiene products, grease, old medication, other types of paper, and everything else out of your toilet. Otherwise, you are just asking for an overflow!
Finally, we get a lot of calls about leaking toilets. When you find water pooling around the base of your toilet, it means that there is a leak somewhere.
Before you do anything else, clean up the water that has already leaked and put paper towels around the base of the toilet. This will not only soak up any more water that leaks but it may help you pinpoint the location of the leak. A flashlight can also help you see tiny drops of water or streaks left by running water.
Check the supply line that runs between the wall and the toilet. If you see droplets of water on it, replace it with a braided stainless steel version. Then check the bolts under the tank. If they have water droplets on them or they are rusty (rust indicates the presence of water), replace them with brass ones.
No leaks yet? Try flushing the toilet. Check for water coming out between the bowl and the tank or from the bottom of the toilet, where it connects to the floor. Both of these indicate that different components have gone bad and will need to be replaced.
Your toilet should not only not leak, it should also be stable. When you’re done with your repairs, make sure it doesn’t wibble or wobble when you sit on it. If it does, the problem may be your closet flange. This helps the toilet bolt to the floor and stay stable for normal usage.
At Rosenthal, we are happy to help you with these toilet problems as well as any others you might encounter. Give us a call and we’ll come out quickly, diagnose the problem, and get things working for you as soon as possible. Let us show you why so many people trust us with all their plumbing needs!
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