Toilets are a type of hardware that give homeowners the most trouble. From a running toilet to clogs and leaky seals, it may sometimes feel like toilet problems are endless.
Cummings Plumbing is an HVAC and plumbing company based in Tucson, Arizona. As plumbing experts, they provide helpful advice for dealing with and assessing the most common toilet plumbing issues.
If your toilet continues to run after it’s been flushed and you’re constantly jiggling the handle to fix the problem, it may be an indication that there is a bigger issue. According to Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, the reason that toilets run is usually because the flapper valve, which is responsible for ensuring that water can pass from the tank to the bowl, no longer fits properly. Other common culprits are the floating being imbalanced or the fill tube coming loose. The result is water that runs intermittently, which might not seem like a major issue, but it can wreak havoc if left like this, not to mention the fact that it can increase your utilities bill.
Generally speaking, any of the above toilet problems are fairly easy to fix. However, there are some cases where a running toilet may be indicative of something worse. For example, if you’ve already tried replacing the flapper, fill tube, and float apparatus and the problem still isn’t fixed, it might mean that you have sediment that’s preventing your toilet from flushing and filling normally. Another possible issue could be a leak. Cummings Plumbing’s DIY advice in this scenario is to put a couple drops of food coloring into the upper tank and wait roughly 20 minutes. If after 20 minutes you can still see the color in the bowl, your flapper valve still isn’t working correctly and you should call a plumbing expert.
Toilet Bowl Slow to Empty
Another common toilet problem is a slow-to-empty toilet bowl. This issue is known as a weak flush and is most often caused by clogged holes beneath the rim of the toilet bowl. To try and fix this problem yourself, plumbing experts from Cummings Plumbing recommend using a curved piece of wire, such as a wire coat hanger, to poke gently into each flush hole and clear out any debris that may be clogging it. If necessary, find a small mirror that will help you see under the rim and make the job a lot easier. Another step you can take is to use the coat hanger to loosen any build up that might be clogging the siphon jet in the bottom of the drain (though be careful not to scratch and permanently damage the toilet bowl here). If you take this DIY advice and the weak flushing still persists, then it’s time to call for a toilet repair.
No one likes dealing with a clogged toilet, but such are the realities of life. Toilet clogs are the most common toilet plumbing issues they deal with. If you want to be able to fix clogs yourself — which is highly recommended, as leaving a toilet clogged for longer periods of time can lead to bigger problems — then there are a few tools that Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, recommends you have in your arsenal. For example, a force-cup plunger is a must and is far more effective than a traditional plunger. For minor clogs, insert the bulb of the force-cup plunger into the drain and pumping with force. You’ll then want to slowly release the handle, allowing just a small amount of water in so you can see if you did enough to clear the drain. If it’s still not clear, repeat the previous action.
A second tool that Cummings Plumbing recommends is for major clogs and it is a closet auger. A closet, or toilet auger, can be used by inserting the end of the auger into the drain hole and twisting the handle as you push it downward. Just be careful not to scratch the bowl while doing this, but it should quickly and efficiently unclog the drain.
Cummings Plumbing on Seals Leaking
You may not realize that toilets tend to have at least five seals, all with the potential to leak. If you notice a leak coming from your toilet, your best course of action is to check each seal to see which one might be the culprit and then either tighten or replace it. It makes the most sense to check the largest seal first, which is located between the tank and the toilet bowl. A leak in this seal will cause the most damage and will typically result in water shooting out from underneath the tank every time the toilet is flushed. To replace such a critical seal, Cummings Plumbing claims you will need to drain and remove the tank. This isn’t an easy fix for most people, so it will likely be best to call plumbing experts in for a toilet repair.
However, if you decide to power through yourself, Cummings Plumbing’s DIY advice is as follows. They recommend first turning the tank upside down for easier access. From there, you can remove the old seal and replace it with the new one, which can be bought at any local hardware store. The process for fixing any of the other leaky seals will be the same and these seals are located at the mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock valve. In some cases of extremely minor leaks, rather than fully removing the old seal and replacing it with a new one, you may be able to get away with simply tightening the bolts or the mounting nuts. One last warning regarding leaky seals is that if it’s the seal located on a plastic flange underneath the toilet base that’s giving you trouble, you’ll definitely want to fully replace this one. Otherwise, this water leaking from the seal underneath the toilet base can eventually rot the floor, giving you far greater problems than a simple leaky seal. This seal is one of the hardest to replace on your own though, as it requires the entire toilet to be removed so the wax seal can be replaced.