Toilet Tips

The toilet is tasked with one of the most important jobs of any fixture in the home: removing waste. If well taken care of, a properly installed toilet will perform that task indefinitely. Sometimes things go wrong and your fixture might need a little maintenance. If that happens, give us a call and we will solve your issue. In the meantime, here are a few tips to deal with some of the more common problems.

Phantom Flush
Sometimes toilets will flush on their own, which can be both startling and a waste of water. Plumbers call this phantom flush and, despite the name, it has a very simple cause and solution. If this is happening, there is a small leak from the tank into the bowl probably caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. To fix it, drain the tank and bowl and clean the flapper. If it is damaged, replace it.

Trickling Water
If you hear a hissing or trickle sound coming from the toilet, you may have a leak in the supply line. Check on the float, the refill tube, and the ballcock or inlet-valve assembly. More often than not, the hissing is caused by a leak in the inlet-valve. Open up the tank and see if the float is sticking. Then, check the refill tube and make sure it only extends about ¼ inch below the overflow tube rim. If that doesn’t fix the problem, replace the ballcock or give us a call to take a look.

Clogs, though annoying, can be a pretty quick fix, as long as the substance clogging the drain isn’t too difficult to dislodge. Use a plunger, a force-cup plunger may be best, and get a good seal around the drain. Pump with the handle and check to see if the drain is free. You might have to do it a few times to clear away the clog. If this still doesn’t clear away the clog, you may have to try a different method, unless you want to continue pumping the plunger up and down in your toilet bowl in hopes that it becomes clear. In some cases, repeated pumping is really what is necessary to clear the drain. If you don’t think this will solve you problem, wait until your bowl has cleared some of the water, as you may need to add additional water to the toilet to get it to clear(which may sound counterproductive, but we promise is effective). Once the bowl is mostly devoid of water, pour a generous amount of dish soap into the bowl of your toilet. Add a gallon of very hot, but not quite boiling, water into the toilet bowl. After a few minutes, the the hot water should break up the toilet paper and the soap will help it slide down the pipes.

Weak Flush
If your bowl empties slowly, you have what plumbers call a “weak flush”. Most likely, the holes that let water into the bowl have been plugged and need to be cleared away. You can use a wire hanger to gently press into the holes to open them back up. You can also use a mirror to look up and under the rim of the bowl to see your progress.

These problems can be fairly common but the tips here should help keep your toilet running the way it’s designed to. If you still can’t get your toilet to work, give us a call. We are happy to help! Let us know what we can do for you and we’ll get the job done.