The bathroom is probably the most used room in every home. No matter how well built your toilet is, chances are that it will need some periodic repairs. Unfortunately, a toilet leak can cause a lot of damage and if you find one you should address the issue immediately.
Sometimes the problem is complicated and you will need an experienced, knowledgeable, plumber to make the repairs. Other times, a do DIY’er can effectively solve the problem. It is often difficult to know the difference and the wrong call can end up driving the repair costs, and your frustration, up.
Below we will discuss some common problems and whether or not a homeowner can effectively do the job without employing a professional plumber.
The Water is Continuously Running
This is one of the most common problems that you will run into and sometimes it is an easy fix. The first step is to open the toilet tank. Look inside at the flushing mechanism. The flapper is a plug that covers the hole in the tank that leads to the toilet. When you flush the toilet it opens up and allows clean water to flow into the bowl. The flapper then shuts and allows the tank to fill up with clean water for the next flush.
Sometimes the chain that is connected to the flapper gets stuck, this can leave the flapper open and prevent the tank from filling up. This will cause the water to continuously run until the chain is set free and the tank is plugged and allowed to fill. Sometimes the chain will need to be made longer or shorter to allow the flapper to get a proper seal.
This is a relatively easy fix and should be the first thing that you inspect when the toilet will not stop running.
If you open up the tank and see that something within is broken the fix will probably be more difficult. There are multiple things that can go wrong with the parts of the flushing machinery inside the tank. If there is something wrong with the flapper, fill tube, or overflow pipe you will likely need a call a professional.
Water Near the Base of the Toilet
If you find water that has collected near the base of the toilet, first clean it up and wait for a few hours. If you find that more water has collected it is likely that the wax ring under your toilet has gone bad. The toilet sits on the wax ring and the toilet must be removed from its place to access the ring. This is an involved job that requires a professional because if the toilet is not properly placed on the wax ring you will find that it will leak again.
If after a few hours there is no more water, the problem could have come from the flush valve or the supply hose. The flush valve’s job is to move the water from the tank into the toilet bowl. To test for a leaking flush valve turn off the water and note the water’s level in the tank. If you return after a period of time and the water level is lower the flush valve is probably leaking and needs to be replaced.
The supply hose feeds water to the toilet. If either is leaking then you should call a plumber as well. Replacing them can be difficult and a mistake in trying to repair either can lead to more problems.
Slow Filling Water Tank
A slow filling water tank can be caused by a buildup of minerals or debris in some of the toilets parts. You can usually clean these areas pretty easily, consult the manufacturers instructions to discover proper cleaning techniques.
If you clean the valves, pump, and hoses and the tank still fills slowly, there is probably a bigger problem in the toilet or the water lines in your home. These are jobs that require a professional to fix.
Toilet Won’t Flush
A clog is a typical reason that toilets will not flush. If you know there is an irregular obstruction (a toy fell in etc,) your first step should be to try to remove it without plunging. If this is impossible then the next step should be to try to plunge toilet to free the clog. If these do not clear the blockage then it is best to call a plumber so that you don’t further damage your system.
If there is no obstruction but the toilet will not flush it is likely an issue with the chain that connects the flush lever to the flapper. This is typically an easy fix that you can do yourself. All that is necessary is to reconnect the chain or replace it if it is broken.
Many people would rather perform their own repairs than call a professional because it gives them a sense of accomplishment and it saves money. It is important to know when you are capable of repairing a toilet problem and when you should call a professional. As an amateur DIY’er you risk severely damaging your toilet or plumbing system if you get in over your head. Often, you will save money by calling a professional immediately rather than trying to perform a difficult repair and you will save yourself the frustration of going a long period of time without a functioning toilet.
Village Plumbing is a Henderson, Nevada area plumber whose goal is to help our patrons when they are at their wits end. We use our more than 30 years of experience to identify your problem and fix it as quickly as possible. We understand the stress that comes with a plumbing issue and we do our best to respect your home and get the job done right the first time.
If you have a plumbing problem that you haven’t been able to fix yourself, or even a question, contact us to discuss your options. We take pride in being there for our customers when they need us the most.