The toilet is one of those essential, can’t-live-without items in your home. But like anything that’s regularly used, toilets are bound to break down sooner or later. The handle, fill valve, float ball, tank stopper, and flapper are just a few of the components that often wear down after years of regular use, and when they do, your toilet no longer functions like it should. Or, toilet paper and other materials can build up in your plumbing system until one day your toilet is clogged and overflowing.
When these things happen, it can be extremely jarring to your lifestyle, habits, and of course, your bladder. The sound of a running toilet can drive you crazy. The mess and odors emanating from a clogged toilet are horrible. If you’ve got standing wastewater in your toilet, or worse yet, wastewater backed up into your shower or sink, that is an obvious health hazard. Not only that, a leaking or overflowing toilet can lead to serious water damage to your home and belongings, in addition to wasting a lot of water and driving up your utility bill. These are all reasons why people tend to panic whenever they have a toilet problem.
Of course, you may be able to fix some toilet problems yourself. Homeowners often have the tools needed to cope with minor plumbing emergencies. But when it comes to serious toilet troubles, you’re far better off having a plumbing professional come in and take care of the problem.
Why Won’t My Toilet Flush?
There are many reasons why the toilet won’t flush. Sometimes it’s a simple fix. The chain connecting the flush lever to the flapper might be broken or loose, which prevents the flap from being lifted up high enough to let water in the tank so the toilet can flush. In that case, the chain may just need to be shortened or replaced. Also, the flapper itself may be worn or broken and need to replaced. Or, you may just need to see if the water valve was accidentally turned off, or if it’s too low. Turning the valve all the way up may remedy the problem. Then again, if you’ve taken all these steps and your toilet still doesn’t flush, it could be a bigger issue. That’s when it’s time to get help from a plumbing professional.
A toilet bowl that empties slowly—known as a “slow” or “weak flush”—is often the result of the jet holes under the rim of the bowl becoming clogged with minerals such as calcium or lime, or rust-buildup. Over time, these deposits restrict and block water from flowing into the toilet bowl, causing a weak flush. Many times this problem can be easily fixed by using a wire coat hanger to gently poke each flush hole to clear out any debris. This will allow the water to drain freely again.
Why is My Toilet Running?
When your toilet continues to run long after flushing, that can be due to a variety of problems. Water may be leaking through a poorly fitting or defective flapper or float apparatus that fails to seal the flush valve between the tank and bowl. Or, water could be leaking into the overflow tube. A defective toilet fill valve, float arm, tank stopper or inlet valve might also be the problem. These are all areas that need to be investigated. After you’ve looked at everything noted here, if your toilet is still running continually, your best bet is to call a plumber. A running toilet is not a problem to ignore, since you could be wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day.
Why is My Toilet Clogged?
Excessive use of toilet paper, or attempting to flush anything down the toilet other than toilet tissue can clog pipes, which, after a flush, results in the dreaded overflow. Flushing paper towels, wet wipes, diapers, sanitary napkins, and excess hair from a brush are all common culprits behind toilet blockages. In homes with hard water, mineral deposits can build up, eventually making the toilet drain too narrow for solid waste to pass through.
If the clog is simply a blockage in the pipe below or immediately adjacent to the toilet, many blockages can be cleared using a plunger or toilet auger. If that doesn’t work, pouring a pot of very hot (not boiling) water into the toilet will often dislodge the clog. (Chemical drain cleaners, on the other hand, are not always the best solution since they can damage pipes and cause them to deteriorate at a faster rate.)
If you’ve used a plunger and perhaps hot water and your blockage still isn’t resolved, that indicates the clog is likely to extend far beyond the immediate area of your toilet, and may mean a blockage in your main sewer line. In this situation, it’s best to consult with a drain-clearing professional. If you’re able to temporarily unclog your toilet, but new clogs reoccur on a regular basis, that’s also symptomatic of a serious underlying problem.
Why is My Toilet Leaking?
Another water-waster is a leaky toilet. A toilet may be leaking water in the tank or at the base. If the leak is at the base, the wax ring (seal) between the bottom of the toilet and the closet flange (waste pipe) is broken, allowing water to seep out under the toilet whenever it’s flushed. The toilet base probably isn’t totally attached to the floor, and may wobble when someone sits on it. If you’re a handyman, this is a relatively easy toilet repair: the wax ring has to be replaced, and the tee bolts that attach the toilet to the floor need to be tightened.
If you periodically hear a flushing sound coming from the tank when the toilet hasn’t been flushed, this is typically due to a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl. This problem is usually caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. The solution is to clean the flapper seat and replace it if it’s damaged or worn.
When Professional Plumbing Help is Needed
If you’ve tried doing the repairs and you haven’t solved the toilet problem, or if you’re simply not in a position to do the repairs yourself, it’s time to get professional plumbing help. If you live in the Atlanta area, the company to call is Assured Comfort.
Remember, big plumbing repair jobs need professional attention. Some issues are too involved, complicated or messy to tackle alone. Enlist the services of Assured Comfort for your safety and the integrity of your home. We provide fast, friendly, and efficient toilet repair solutions. Whether your toilet lacks flushing power, leaks, or is overflowing, running non-stop or simply not working, you can rely on Assured Comfort to have your toilet running properly again in no time. We will come to your rescue day or night to remedy the situation.
At Assured Comfort, our phones are manned 24-hours a day, 7-days a week to ensure we’re available when you need us. If you have questions, want to schedule a maintenance visit or have a toilet emergency, give Assured Comfort a call at 770-872-4168. Let us handle the dirty work. You’ll be glad you did!