3 Basic Problems With Toilets (And How To Fix Them)

Problems with toilets can be quite annoying but usually there is a quick way how to fix non-functional toilets. If you look around the web about how to fix problems with toilets, you’ll find some great instructions at dengarden that include a lot of photos (useful when DIY fixing a clogged toilet for example).

Just to give you some quick directions, we’ve listed 3 most common toilet problems you’ve probably already faced and how to fix them (and if and when call in a plumber for a hand):

#1 Running Water or. ‘Phantom Flushes’

The constantly trickling water is probably the most common toilet problem. After a flush, the water just doesn’t stop trickling little by little from the tank down to the bowl – you can ever hear the water running.

It’s a quite annoying problem that, if not treated readily and properly, can boost your water usage considerably. Luckily, there’s an easy way to solve it yourself.

The problem is a bad flapper or a bad flapper seat. At least in up to 90% of cases. You can locate and replace the toilet flapper quite easily. If you open the tank up, you’ll see the insides of the tank flushing mechanism that looks something like this:

toilet flapper running water toilet fix
The insides of a standard toilet tank. Designated by No. 6 is the toilet flapper that causes the problem with running toilet water.

From the toilet tank diagram above, you can clearly see how the water from the tank enters the bowl via that pink piece (#6). That is a flapper that is usually causing the leaky water problems. If you have a bad flapper, it’s insufficiently closing the water stream. The running water in the toilet bowl that we see is caused by the flapper’s inability to completely shut off that water stream.

How to fix it? Just replace the existing bad flapper. They’re quite inexpensive – you can get a good flapper for $10 over at Amazon.  Just be sure that it is compatible with your toilet.

#2 Clogged Toilet (Try Yourself Before Calling A Plumber)

We all hate a clogged toilet but we also know it has to be fixed. Sometimes we can do unclog the toilet ourselves, but in some cases, the clog is so persistent that we need to call in an expert.

How to deal with a clogged toilet?

There are several methods and they’re not really hard. The first one is the plunger; everybody knows how to operate and it can be effective in some cases. The second one is using a straightened wire to try to pick the clog and flush it down with the next flush. Straightening out an old coat-hanger is one technique of getting a wire but you can also buy appliances that are specifically designed to unclog toilets.

The third DIY option is less mechanic in nature. It involves using chemicals that are poured into the toilet water and sink in deep to reach the clog. They unclog the toilet by partly dissolving the clog which is torn apart by the next flush. Drano Max Clog Remover is an example of such a chemical liquid but there are many others. This one has a 4.3/5 Amazon star rating so it’s safe to say it help the majority of people with their clogging problems.

If these 3 unclogging techniques for toilets didn’t work, it’s time to call the plumber.

#3 Leaky Seals – Which 4 Places To Check?

Not as common a problem as running water or clogged toilet, but a leaky toilet is something that can be more damaging than both of those combined. If we’re not careful, the toilet can flood the entire bathroom before we notice.

In theory, it’s not that hard to fix a leaky toilet. There are 4 places where there can be a leak – we have to check each of them and either tighten the valve/seal or replace it. Here are places where a faulty seal will cause the toilet to leak:

  1. The big seal between tank and bowl. When you flush, there is a jet of water under the tank. You can fix it by replacing the seal when you empty the tank. (Tip: turn the tank upside down and you’ll have an easier access to toilet seal replacement)
  2. The small mounting bolts seal. These usually need to be tightened and if that doesn’t work out, replace them.
  3. The base of the ballcock seals. More often than not, these have to be replaced.
  4. Most important one to check – wax seal beneath the toilet base (located on a plastic flange). A deficient or broken wax seal is the least pleasant problem of a leaky toilet. All the water that gets released there can rot the floor and even caulking doesn’t help because it only traps the water there. Unfortunately, if you have a faulty wax seal, you’ll need to remove the whole toilet to completely remove and replace wax seal. Important: call the plumber. Too much can go wrong if you don’t fix it correctly and the costs of repairing the bathroom floor and tilling are much greater than a plumber’s bill.

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